Disclaimer and author's note: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling. This was written for Ember Nickel's "Outside the Lions" Competition (Project Philia) on the HPFC forum.

It's a strange sort of friendship that grows up between the two of them. Broderick Bode doesn't have much to say most of the time, and when he does he's mumbling gibberish about orbs and prophecies. It's all right though, really – Gilderoy talks enough for the both of them, and it's nice someone looking at him with no recognition in his eyes for once. Everyone else looks at him like they know him, and like they expect him to know them, only he never does. The Healer on the ward, he knows her, except sometimes she goes off for a few days and when she reappears she needs to reintroduce herself. It's Christmas in a few days and she's working, so he won't forget her. It's a nice feeling, knowing that he's going to remember someone, at least for the next week.

Bode though, he hasn't a clue what's happening round him, really. Most of the time he just lies there in his bed, comatose and glassy-eyed, staring at the ceiling. At first that made Gilderoy feel a bit superior. He could carry on a decent conversation with a visitor, even if he had to ask their name again if the meeting went much longer than fifteen minutes. But it's those times that Bode starts upright and says, "I won't, I won't; I can't; no one but the Object can…" and then lapses into nonsense; those are the times that Gilderoy thinks they start to become friends.

He tries to talk to Bode as best he can. They've got more in common than Gilderoy first allows – Bode seems only able to remember one thing, and Gilderoy can't remember anything. Antonyms that become more synonymous. Strangers who become less so, at least to each other, because even Gilderoy knows, in those moments where he sits and really thinks, that he hasn't a clue who he is, and certainly Bode hasn't either.

And even though Bode never responds directly to a thing Gilderoy says, he thinks sometimes there's a shift in his eyes or a twitch in his cheek that's the best he can do; that he can understand even if he's lost the ability to vocalise it. So Gilderoy keeps talking, and Bode keeps listening, and Gilderoy gets the feeling that Bode may be the only true friend he's ever had.

But he doesn't really remember.