Author's Note: I love when I dig around on my computer and come up with these things. This one is not so very old, however.
I'll tell you, this is how I came up with this story. I was thinking about another story I'm currently working on ('Remembering Amity' for any of you reading this who like Danny Phantom and teen angst) and the following thoughts crossed my mind, "Amnesia is like the most contrived plot device you could possibly use. Ever." And then, "I'm going to write a story where Harry gets amnesia and forgets who Ron is."
The morning after James Potter, just before pulling out of what would have been a spectacular dive on his broomstick, collided with his father head on, Harry could not remember who Ron was.
He got out of bed and went downstairs like always, peeking in various rooms on the lookout for family members (Albus was reading on his bed, Lily still sleeping, and James nowhere to be found). Ginny was in the kitchen, drinking coffee and filling out a puzzle in 'The Quibbler'.
"Morning," he said, kissing her amidst her sleep-tousled hair before digging around the bowl of fruit in the middle of the table for an apple.
"Morning," she replied, "Eleven letters for a 'Christmas party ruiner'?"
"Ermm…" said Harry. He took a bite of the apple he'd recovered and chewed thoughtfully. He glanced at the title of the paper. "A 'winged snaff'?"
Ginny surveyed the puzzle, brushing the end of her quill across her lips. She narrowed her eyes. "It fits," she said, "But it sounds like something you just made up."
He smiled. "Just about everything in there does. Since when do you do crosswords?"
"Hermione's been trying to get me into sudoku for so long…" Ginny sighed, "And I really can't get the hang of it. I figured I'd give this a try instead, but I can hardly figure out any of these clues…" She put down the paper and the quill and looked up at him, sympathetic.
"How's your head?" she asked.
For a moment Harry was surprised. He raised one hand and brushed his fingers over the back of his head, which was swollen and achy. He recalled suddenly that the day before James had hit him with his broomstick.
"Fine," he said, laughing a little bit, "Not the worst broom accident I've ever been in." He looked around. "Where is James anyway, he's not in his room."
"Hiding," replied Ginny, amused. "He got the idea you're going to ground him and flew off to Ron's. You know not being allowed to fly is a fate worse than death to him. We may never see him again…" she laughed and so did Harry, though of course he understood. All three of the Potter children were athletic and enjoyed Quidditch, but only James had inherited his father's simple love of flight.
When Harry stopped laughing he asked, "So, where has he gone again?"
"Ron and Hermione's," repeated Ginny, her eyes straying back to her puzzle. Harry frowned.
"Hermione Granger?" he asked.
"Do we know any other Hermiones?" Ginny asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
"Well… no," sputtered Harry, "I don't know. It's just you said Ron and Hermione's. Didn't you?"
Ginny said, "Yeees," in a where-is-this-going sort of tone.
"Well, who's R—"
"Hey," said Lily, abruptly entering the kitchen and slumping down at the table. "Mum, can you make waffles?"
"You know how to make waffles," Ginny pointed out.
Lily's face became an exaggerated pout. "But Muuum, yours are better than mine. Right, Dad?"
"Right," said Harry immediately, though he quite obviously wasn't listening. Ginny shot him a worried look before standing up.
"All right," she sighed, "I could do with some real breakfast myself, anyway."
"We never eat any real food unless Grandma's cooking," Lily complained, "I dunno why Teddy shows up all the time…" At Ginny's expression she added with a thumbs up, "Except waffles. Your waffles are great, Mum!"
"Thanks," Ginny replied. She rolled her eyes, but she was laughing.
"So whose this Ron?" Harry asked suddenly.
Ginny and Lily stared at him, so he explained, "You said James is at Ron and Hermione's. I mean, I guess that's girl talk and all, but I would have thought she'd at least mention if she was living with someone…"
The girls continued to stare.
"Do you mean Uncle Ron?" wondered Lily.
"Uncle Ron?" repeated Harry, flabbergasted. "He's Uncle Ron, now? Just who is this bloke?"
"Mum," Lily whispered, although Harry was quite within earshot anyway, "I think Dad's lost it. I bet it's Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, like that therapist said…"
"She said it was odd Harry didn't have Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome," Ginny corrected her with a frown.
"What's up with you guys?" Harry asked peevishly. Ginny approached him and bent down to stare right into his irritated, green eyes.
"Harry," she said slowly, "Do you know who I am?"
"I imagine I do," he replied sarcastically, "I married you, didn't I?"
"I'm Lily!" piped up Lily helpfully. Her parents both shot her reproachful looks.
"Lils, go see if Al wants any breakfast," said Ginny pointedly. Lily left in a huff.
"What's going on?" Harry wanted to know.
"I don't know," said Ginny, "But I think you've got amnesia. I guess James hit you harder than we thought."
"Amnesia?" wondered Harry. "But I don't have amnesia. I still know who I am, and who you are, and the kids." Suddenly he looked stricken. "There are three of them right?" he asked.
"Yes," said Ginny, "Who else do you remember?"
Harry shrugged, exasperated. "I dunno, everyone. Your Mum and Dad. Hermione. Teddy and Andromeda… erm, Neville… how many people do you want me to keep listing?"
"I guess that's enough…" said Ginny, biting her lip. "But you really don't remember Ron?"
"Who?" asked Harry blankly before saying, "Oh right, right, this mystery man of Hermione's…"
There was the familiar commotion of feet banging down the stairs and the two younger Potter children stomped into the kitchen. Al, like Lily, was still in his pajamas, and he'd brought his book with him.
"Lily says Dad's lost it," he told Ginny excitedly. "And also that you're making waffles."
"I am," Ginny sighed. Her two children happily found places around the table and proceeded to stare at Harry with wide, interested eyes. Their father was distracted again, and didn't notice. Ginny started pulling out ingredients for waffles.
"Well," she said, now in a taking-charge-of-the-situation tone. "Ron is one of my brothers, and he's been your best friend since you were eleven. He's got red hair. Also, I believe he's helped you save the world a few times."
The kids, who had watched their mother as she gave this simplified explanation of a very prominent figure in their lives, now turned gleefully back to see their father's reaction. Harry was still frowning thoughtfully, much as Ginny had been when she'd been pouring over her puzzle.
"I don't remember that," he said, which was rather obvious but he found it helpful to think out loud sometimes. "I mean, Hermione's been my best friend since I was eleven, and God knows she's helped me save the world a couple times. But Ron, Ron… it's just not ringing any bells." He leaned his head in one hand and drummed the fingers of the other. "How did we get across that chess board, anyway?" he wondered to himself quietly.
The door banged open and shut, and someone exclaimed, "Ginny, you're cooking!" It was Hermione.
Ginny grumbled, "I cook all the time, what is it with you people and my waffles?" but hugged her sister-in-law nonetheless. She was particularly glad to see her on this morning. Hermione would know what to do.
As usual Hermione's appearance was neat. Those in the Potter household tended to stay in their pajamas for most of the day when there wasn't work or school to attend to, but you could count on Hermione to have combed hair and crisp robes no matter what the time of day. She cheerfully viewed the family before her, eyeing Lily's nightgown and Al's tousled hair fondly.
"Hi, kids," she greeted them. "I haven't stolen your brother, you know. Ron's bringing him over with Hu and Rose any minute now."
"Cool!" Lily cried, excited to see her friends if not her older brother. Al was more sensible about the situation.
"But Aunt Hermione, Dad doesn't know who Ron is," he pointed out.
Hermione finally turned her attention to her oldest friend, who still had his head in his hands and looked like he was trying to mentally solve all the problems in the universe.
"Oh dear," she said, looking to Ginny for confirmation.
Ginny sighed. "It's true. I didn't think he'd have anything worse than a sore head after James hit him yesterday, but he woke up this morning and—"
Feet touched down on the grass outside. There was a clatter of broomsticks being dropped, and Ron called, "All right, the rule is no one's allowed to kill James because it was an accident! What? Oh, I'm sorry. No one is allowed to ground him either!"
"What do we do?" Ginny whispered to Hermione, stricken. Hermione was already approaching Harry. She put her hands on his shoulders and whispered hurriedly,
"Look, that's Ron outside. He's the tall, skinny one, okay? Pretend you recognize him!"
Harry was flabbergasted. "But I don't—"
"Trust me, Harry," said Hermione, and of course he did. He hadn't spent the past few decades of his life relying on her to be the brains of the operation for nothing.
The door opened and a whole new parade stomped in. First Rose and Hugo, both neatly dressed like their mother, if not a little windswept. They were laughing about something. James slunk in next, standing out from the Weasley children because he'd left his pajamas on, though he'd pulled a pair of jeans on over them. His eyes darted around as if assessing the kitchen for a quick escape. Finally came Ron, laughing along with his children. His eyes brightened automatically to see the family collected around him.
"What's this?" he said, spotting his sister first. "Making waffles?"
"Waffles!" Rose and Hugo cried in unison. They laughed and high-fived after realizing they had done so. Lily rolled her eyes before standing up to greet them—she never got on with her brothers nearly as well as those two did with each other. Al, on the other hand, had already gone back to reading his book. Even so, there was a small smile on his face as if he were waiting for the real excitement to start.
"Sorry, Dad…" James mumbled to Harry. His father smiled, and stood up to give him a hug. James would have protested that he was too old for that sort of thing, but it was too soon to say whether or not he was in the clear of getting punished.
"It's okay, James," said Harry, laughing. "You didn't have to run away, you know. You'll have to do something a lot worse than a little accident for me to take your broom away from you. However," he added severely, prompted by a look from Ginny, "You need to be more careful."
"I know," James replied, catching himself before he rolled his eyes.
"See?" Ron told him happily. "No harm done. Like I told you, Harry's had worse when it comes to broom accidents." His eyes met Harry's, sharing a private joke, and Harry did his best to grin back and not wonder what sort of private joke he could possibly have with someone he'd never even met before.
"We're crowding you, Gin," Hermione said suddenly. Perhaps she had noticed the tension. "How about we all go into the living room and leave you two in peace?"
"Yeah, so you can make breakfast faster," Ron agreed readily. With Hermione's help he shepherded all five children out of the kitchen, even Al who, once he had ascertained that no major drama was going to break out, had gotten so absorbed in his book he hadn't realized everyone was leaving.
"What's his name again?" Harry asked Ginny once they were gone.
"Shhh," Ginny warned, hoping no one in the living room had heard that. "It's Ron" she whispered. "I think it's best to just do as Hermione says for now, okay?"
Harry shook his head. "I know, I know," he said. "It's just really weird. I mean, it's like there's a stranger out there with my kids."
"He's hardly an ax murderer," Ginny replied dryly. But she saw the crestfallen look on his face and put her arms around him. "I'm sorry," she murmured, "I know it's silly, but I'm sure Hermione and I both think that of all the people you could have forgotten, Ron was the very worst."
"Why?" Harry wondered. It seemed to him it would have been a lot worse to forget his own wife and kids, or his best friend Hermione. After all, he didn't even know this Ron person.
Oh, he thought, realizing that in his current state that wasn't really a valid thought.
"Just trust me," Ginny sighed. She didn't have enough time or energy to explain the difficulties of being the not-quite-as-famous best friend of an extremely-famous hero to Harry, especially when he couldn't even seem to keep Ron's name in his head for more than five seconds.
"Okay," replied Harry. Not knowing something had always been extremely frustrating to him, and he burned to get to the bottom of this mystery, but for now he would have to trust Hermione and Ginny.
When Ginny had finished there were three heaping plates of waffles on the table—probably not enough. Her own kids were all skinny little things but she knew from experience that they could eat waffles like nobody's business, and Rose and Hugo were only slightly better.
"Breakfast!" she called loudly to the other room. The ensuing rush to return to the kitchen looked and sounded like a stampede. It took several minutes for everyone to find a chair or stool to place around the too-small table. Luckily there were enough places to sit, as the Potters knew by now to be prepared for instances such as this.
"Thank God," James sighed happily. He'd already piled five of the steaming squares onto his plate without batting an eyelash. "I thought I was going to starve." There was a brief scuffle as he, Albus, and Hugo all reached for the syrup at the same time. Ginny sighed and conjured up another bottle, and finally everything settled down except for the sounds of everyone eating and enjoying it. In truth, Ginny's cooking was often mediocre at best. She simply did not have her mother's patience for it. Somehow, despite this, she had an innate talent for waffles.
She surveyed her extended family now with a small smile on her face. It was nice, really, when they could all get together like this. It really was. Then she shot a look at Harry, recalling that everything was not as perfect as it seemed.
Her husband had paused with his fork halfway to his mouth and was blinking rapidly behind his thick glasses. Then he looked up across the table, spotted Ron, and a grin broke out on his face.
"Oi, Ron," he said, sounding surprised but pleasantly so. "When did you get here?"
Ron's mouth was full of waffle. He raised his eyebrows at Harry and replied with a muffled, "Mmpf?"
The kids laughed.