Hello! A few notes before I let you go on, this story was deeply personal for me to write. I myself spent nearly two weeks in a mental hospital and felt very disoriented when I left. In the hospital everything was orderly and low stress. I wrote this thinking of how I would have felt after ten years in such a place. Give my Gilderoy a chance, I think he has potential :)
It was two years after the war when Gilderoy Lockhart remembered the first time he had obliviated someone for personal gain. He couldn't believe it. His fame came naturally, didn't it? Apparently not. His personal healer bustled in shortly after.
"Ah, I see you've remembered."
"Remembered? Remembered what?"
"Oh come now Gilderoy. You must realize that given your condition and history you'd have people skilled in legilmency watching you. You have just remembered the first time you obliviated someone."
"The first time? You mean, I did that more than once?"
"Yes, you did it many times. There's going to be a story about it in the Daily Prophet shortly courtesy of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley." The healer decided it would be too much for the wizard to mention that both boys, well men now, were war heroes.
Gilderoy looked shocked, beyond shocked, he was stunned, and on the verge of ripping out his perfectly groomed golden locks. Everyone would hate him now. All that fanmail that had gotten him through his long stay in this hospital would stop, and he would be so terribly alone…
His memories came back jumbled and agonizingly slow. On top of that his fanmail had in fact ceased shortly after the healer told him about the article. The factors combined had the poor wizard descending into a deep depression. He now had to see more healers to help him cope, had to take more potions, had to be further monitored. A healer had to clap eyes on him every fifteen minutes. He had to use a special bathroom with a special shower curtain. They took away his razor and any long lengths of material he might use to hang himself. It was in short, even more demoralizing. However, Gilderoy coped. He found comfort in his new routine, and slowly found himself hoping he'd never have to leave the wizarding hospital.
Five years after the end of the war, Gilderoy was being released against his will. His memories were still not fully restored, but enough had returned that he no longer needed full time care. His healer had acquired him a flat in wizard London. It was the least he could do after nearly bleeding the man dry during his long stay at the hospital. Terrified and confused, Gilderoy was thrust back into the world he had only just remembered was his, knowing he'd be shunned for actions he could no longer fathom performing.
The first thing Gilderoy wished to do upon his return to the wizarding world was purchase a new wand from Ollivanders. He had no idea what had happened to his old one, but he did not think he would want it back anyway after the horrible acts he had performed with it. So, trying to act as inconspicuous as possible, Gilderoy strolled down Diagon Alley to the wandmaker's shop. Of course he drew the attention of everyone. His release had been announced in the Daily Prophet, and his face was not one easily forgotten. Sure he had aged in the years he had been locked away, but he had done so gracefully. Some women still swooned at the sight of him despite themselves.
Lowering his head, the former professor dodged into the shop he was seeking. Ollivander, somehow still at his job after all the long years, looked up expectantly.
"Ah, Gilderoy Lockhart. I wondered if I'd see you here today." Said the old man.
"Ah… um… Yes… I'd… uh… Like to buy a new wand…" Stammered Gilderoy. It had been a long time since he'd talked to anyone who wasn't a healer. He felt very uncomfortable talking to ordinary people.
"After what you did with the last one I gave you? You have the audacity to ask me for another?" Ollivander peered down at him sternly. Gilderoy quaked in his polished shoes.
"I don't want to talk about what I did with the last one," he said, so softly the old man had to strain to hear him. "When I remembered, I felt so sick with myself. Please… don't bring it up…"
Ollivander looked interested. Slowly, he crossed to one of the walls covered with boxes of wands, and selected one very particular wand. He whispered to himself "I wonder…" and handed the wand to Gilderoy.
He looked at the wand in his fingers. It was very plain. Much different from the ostentatious gold one he used to own. Somehow, that pleased him. Tentatively he gave it a wave. A gentle purple light surrounded him, soothing his nerves before it faded away. He looked up at Ollivander who nodded approvingly.
"Well then… That will be ten galleons please," he said, and held out his hand.
Gilderoy's jaw dropped to the floor, but he didn't dare argue, and quickly handed over the money. Just as he was heading out Ollivander called to him.
"Oh and Gilderoy, get yourself something sweet to eat. You look as though you need it."
Completely confused, Gilderoy left the shop.
However, as he was shopping for food in the wizarding grocery store, Gilderoy decided to take Ollivander up on his advice. That bag of toffies looked nice… He placed them in his basket along with his other purchases. After paying, he once again lowered his head and tried to not be noticed as he walked to his apartment. He didn't think apparating would be a good idea as he only half remembered how to do it. Not to mention his license had probably been revoked.
After putting everything away, Gilderoy decided to try one of the toffies and promptly felt his tongue tie in a knot. Yelping in shock, he looked down at the label on the wrapper. 'Tongue-Tied Toffies'. Of course. Miserable, he sat around waiting for the effects to wear off and counting the days until his next visit with a healer.
Two weeks later, Gilderoy was again ducking through Diagon Alley towards the wand shop, this time on healer's orders. Apparently his healer thought that Gilderoy needed a friend, and that the wandmaker was his best bet. So against the former professor's better judgment, he slipped into the shop.
Ollivander looked up from his desk. "Gilderoy. Back so soon? Don't tell me the wand dissatisfies you."
"Erm… ah… No… The wand is ah perfectly fine. I'm… I'm actually here on – on healer's orders…" Gilderoy said to his slightly scuffed shoes.
"And why does your healer think you should see me?" Ollivander asked with an eyebrow cocked.
"He seemed to think you were the closest thing to a friend I have" he mumbled.
"I see. You should seek out Luna Lovegood. Does the name sound familiar? I thought it might. She's a former student of yours. She's also a war hero, fought at the Battle of Hogwarts alongside the Golden Trio. Talk to her, do whatever she asks. That's all I have to say. You'll find her near Knockturn Alley."
Clearly dismissed, Lockhart nodded and left the store, walking towards Knockturn Alley. He didn't have to find Luna. When he got close she found him. She was gorgeous, and kind. After a few minutes of mindless chatter she invited him to come dancing with her that night. He agreed and she told him the name and location of the club. Then, with a wave and a dreamy "See you tonight, professor!" she left him. Lockhart returned home with a touch of a spring in his step.
Gilderoy dressed in nice clothes that would be suitable for dancing that night. He did his hair for the first time in years. He looked better than he could remember looking in years. Satisfied but still quite nervous, he left and began following Luna's instructions.
She greeted him inside, wearing a tight muggle dress that looked quite fetching on her, and promptly pulled him onto the dance floor. Poor Gilderoy learned that dancing had changed quite a lot in his many years in the hospital, but Luna was patient with him and taught him all the steps. He eventually came to ease with the dancing, but not with the glares of the two dark men. One looked to be around his age and was dancing a little ways away with a curly haired brunette. The other didn't look to be much older than Gilderoy's date. He was alternately gazing at Luna with a look full of longing and despair, and glaring at the older man who held her as though he wanted to tear him limb from limb. Alternately the brunette and a curvy redhead were flashing him looks of concern, and when, an hour later he begged a rest from all the dancing, they followed him to a booth.
The girls ordered some drinks from a passing waiter and informed him that he would need a drink to get through their conversation. Then they introduced themselves.
"I'm Miss Hermione Granger. We've met before, but you may not remember as I spent half the year you taught me petrified in the hospital wing" the brunette informed him.
"And I'm Mrs. Ginny Potter, yes, the wife of Harry Potter, the man who exposed the root of your fame. You may not remember teaching me either, I was only a first year at the time."
"I know your opinions must not be v-very high concerning me… but you should know that I… I don't remember what made me do what… what I did… and I don't like to think about what I did… It was horrible…"
The girls appraised him for a moment then the brunette nodded, "Very well, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for now professor."
"Can you girls tell me who the men giving me the death glares are?"
Hermione giggled, "The one I was dancing with was professor Severus Snape, yes you were colleagues. He and I are a couple. He was likely remembering his dislike for you when you both taught at Hogwarts." She turned serious moments later. "The other man is… Luna's husband…"
Gilderoy was shocked, "But… she didn't mention… what… how…" words failed him.
Ginny suddenly chipped in. "Yes, that's Mr. Blaise Zabini, and your date is Mrs. Luna Zabini nee Lovegood, an old friend of ours, and a war hero. We love Luna, and so does Blaise. That's why we watch from the sidelines when she forgets." Hermione nodded at this.
"I don't understand… forgets what?"
"That her husband didn't fight on the other side of the war, that he loves her, and sometimes that she has a husband at all," Ginny said softly.
"On the days she forgets, she takes off her wedding ring and leaves it on the bedside table. She goes out and stands around Knocturn Alley until she finds someone to dance with that night. She comes here with them, and goes home with them. Blaise calls us the mornings he finds her ring, and we all go out dancing too. He follows her when she leaves with her latest man, watches from the shadows, worries, but every morning he wakes up to her sleeping calmly in his bed, with no memory of what she has done. We don't know how to help her, so we just watch and try to keep her from getting hurt."
Gilderoy looked at the dark skinned Italian with new found respect. "How does he do that? Just let her go and welcome her back?"
"Love," the girls murmured together.
"He says the moments she remembers make the moments she forgets worth it," Hermione added.
"But it's killing him isn't it?"
"Yes," agreed Ginny. "Oh here comes Luna, go dance with her again. If you won't she'll find someone who will. But please… for Blaise's sake… don't sleep with her…"
Gilderoy nodded and went to meet his suddenly very complicated date.
Gilderoy tried not to remember the rest of the night, as he wasn't proud of its contents. Luna found her throaty release in his kitchen. Though he did not have sex with her, and tried to keep their contact at a minimum, Luna was determined and sought her pleasure by whatever means necessary.
He watched from a window as she left and followed the shadowy figure of her husband with his eyes. Blaise would make sure she got home safe. Then, feeling dirty after what he had done, he went and took a shower, though not a warm relaxing one. He did not wish to take physical pleasure in what he had witnessed.
The next day, as he was on his way to Ollivander's, Gilderoy saw the Zabini's walking along, hand in hand, smiling and laughing. Neither glanced his way as they strolled past him, both too absorbed in each other, and obviously very much so in love. The former professor felt sick with himself again and let himself into the shop he was looking for.
"You set me up. You used me." He said to Ollivander's turned back.
"Yes. That young woman is very important to me you see. During the war, I was taken prisoner for many months, tortured for information constantly, punished when what I had perceived to be true was proven false. I was old, and growing weak. I didn't know how much more I could handle, when one day they brought in a girl. Beautiful and vibrant and calmly defiant, she helped me stay alive until we were rescued. She was tortured daily, for information, for her friends, for her beliefs, yet still she stayed strong. She fought bravely in the war, but after it was over, she realized that her father had not survived. He had been killed after her escape, leaving her an orphan. For a while, it seemed she would be ok. She met Blaise and eventually they were married. With his help and that of her friends, she seemed to be recovering. But eventually, the trauma of what she had been through took its toll, and she was never the same. The Luna who was a balm to a suffering, imprisoned old man is no more. We can't reach her, and we don't know how to help her."
Ollivander finally looked at him and continued. "But you… you have connections to mind healers. You know the kinds of people that can help her. So, I told you to meet her. If you want to atone for the horrible things you've done, this is the way. Help her, help us get our Luna back."
And how could he say no to that?
He met Blaise at Ollivander's a few days later. It was incredibly awkward, but he managed to pass on the information needed to the man without surrendering to the light headedness he experienced. Progress.
After that it was nearly a year before he saw either of the Zabini's again. He filled his time by helping Hermione to write an unbiased account of the war. He performed interviews supervised by therapists to protect the interviewees from their own memories. The work was more than halfway completed by the time he heard a timid knock on his door.
Gilderoy opened his door to reveal the woman who had haunted his dreams, accompanied by her husband. "Mr. and Mrs. Zabini. Would you like to come inside?"
"No, thank you," Luna replied. "I just wanted to thank you for what you did for me. Many men in your position would have taken advantage of my condition, but you gave my husband the information to get me the help I needed. I'm still not completely well, but I have gotten much better. Thank you for helping keep me from ruining my life." And with that, they were gone.
As the former professor, now turned respectable co-author and interviewer, closed his door and returned to his work, he wondered fleetingly if he'd ever meet a nice woman who would love him, and then if he even deserved one.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think, seeing as I stayed up past 5:30 in the morning getting this ready for you guys ;) And if you liked this piece, feel free to follow me so that you will know when I start to put up the companion multi-chapter fic I have planned. It may take a while, and I may go ahead and finish 'Draco's Recompensation, Hermione's Despair' first, but when it's up you'll know!
Much love, Amaya