A Forgotten Life
My response to DZ2's Forget-Me-Not challenge A.
Summary: As Harry Potter finishes the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament, a sudden and unforeseen attack from the Hungarian Horntail leaves him with complete and total amnesia. In fact, Harry Potter died when the Horntail hit him with her tail. In Harry's place, his personified dark side Dante Cross. Dark Harmony. Good but misguided and manipulative Dumbledore, Severitus.
Main Ships: H/Hr, Sirius/Amelia, Snape/OC
Eventual Side Ships: Draco/Luna, Neville/Ginny
"Life it seems will fade away
Drifting further everyday
Getting lost within myself
Nothing matters no one else
I have lost the will to live
Simply nothing more to give
There is nothing more for me
Need the end to set me free"
-"Fade to Black" by Metallica
Prologue: One Life Ends, Another Begins
Hogwarts, 23 November 1994
It just had to be dragons. These were the words that ran through fourteen-year-old Harry Potter's mind as he desperately tried to avoid becoming an afternoon snack to the massive Hungarian Horntail he was currently playing cat and mouse with. Again asking himself how he managed to get thrust into the shittiest of situations, Harry dove behind another unburnt boulder. This is getting old, very fast. Harry told himself. As of now, he was playing a waiting game while his Firebolt racing broom was en-route to him. When it arrived, Harry ran and jumped onto it, quickly taking to the air. Like a snake charmer, Harry flew around the Horntail until he dived and grabbed the golden egg, ending the task with a roaring and cheering crowd. When he landed, Harry looked around the arena until his eyes met those of a certain brunette that had never abandoned him.
Unfortunately, Harry forgot to take note of the tail of the dragon after he landed. With a swish, the spiked tail slammed into Harry, puncturing his lungs and his heart. As he went flying into a wall, the cheers from the crowd turned to screams of horror and cries of pain. In particular, a young Gryffindor girl, one Hermione Granger, was rushing to her best friend with tears in her eyes. Not caring about anything else, she ran as fast as her legs could carry her to Harry. When she reached him, he was lying in a pool of his own blood, and losing more rapidly. Falling to her knees, Hermione attempted to keep Harry conscious.
"Stay with me, Harry. Please, it's me, Hermione." the girl pleaded, struggling to hold back her tears.
Harry, while losing consciousness rapidly, as well as his lifeblood, locked eyes with his bushy-haired friend. With considerable effort, Harry smiled up at Hermione in an attempt to comfort her.
"I-It's okay... Her...mione. I-I don't think... I can... hold... on much... longer..." he said weakly.
It was in this moment, while he lay on the ground dying, that Harry Potter had an epiphany. He had fallen in love with his bushy-haired brunette friend. He knew his time was running out, but he needed to let her know how he felt.
"Mia... there's... something that... I... wanted to... tell you..." he began feebly, only for Hermione to interrupt.
"Shh, don't talk. Just hold on, Harry. We'll get you patched up in no time. You just need to stay awake. I'm so sorry, Harry. I should have been more helpful."
Voice growing weaker by the second, Harry continued, "I-It's not... your fault... Mia. I've known... you for... three years... you did... all that... you could. I've come... to realize... something. I... I love... you, Mia. I... always have. Ever since... we traveled through... time, I had feelings for you..." He lost consciousness shortly after his mini speech.
"I love you too, Harry. Harry? Harry!?" Hermione shook Harry, trying to keep him awake, but to no avail.
As her best friend's life slowly faded away, Hermione's mind kept telling her what her heart continued to deny: Harry was going to die, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. She desperately called for help, and just as Harry slipped fully into unconsciousness, Madam Pomfrey had the young Triwizard Champion in the medical tent. For fifteen agonizing minutes, the mediwitch fought to stem the bleeding Harry was suffering from. When she managed to stop the bleeding, he still didn't regain consciousness. Knowing that she would need the resources of the Hogwarts hospital wing, Pomfrey had Harry transported on a stretcher to the castle.
Hogwarts Hospital Wing, 23 November 1994
Half an hour had passed since Harry Potter was severely injured by the Hungarian Horntail. Even though Madam Pomfrey managed to stabilize the boy, she wasn't exactly hopeful that he would recover. He had taken two tail spikes to the chest, and had suffered severe blood loss. On top of that, Miss Granger had become desperate to see Harry, hoping against hope that her best friend would pull through like he always did. Unknown to both, inside Harry's mind, was a conversation between Harry and another being.
Inside Harry's Mind
"Where am I?" Harry asked, looking around at the completely stark white environment.
"You are inside you mind, Harry." A voice replied, surprising Harry. Turning around, Harry soon found himself looking at someone that looked exactly like him, only taller and far healthier looking. The differences were that while Harry had his mother's green eyes, this version of Harry had sapphire blue eyes with flecks of emerald green, and his raven-black hair was shoulder length and fell in waves, unlike Harry's messy locks.
"Who are you?" Harry asked the newcomer, wondering how there was someone else in his head.
"My name is Dante Cross, and I am everything you should have grown to be. But, due to your upbringing, I also took on the darker aspects of your personality, your 'dark side' if you will. While you would hold back your intelligence and are shy and anti-social, I am the exact opposite. I am not afraid of showcasing the intellect we both know you have, but won't be a show-off, and I am more confident when it comes to talking to people. In addition, like you, I hate the spotlight, and wish only to be recognized for being me, not some persona conjured by the rest of the wizarding world. Unlike you, I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty or doing what needs to be done, even if it means killing a fellow person." Dante explained, looking at Harry intently.
Mulling this over, the next question on Harry's mind became known, "How long have you been here, and what do you want from me?"
"That's two questions, Harry. However, I'll explain: I have been here ever since you have been living with the Dursleys. Their treatment of you led to you creating me, as a way of having some strength to fall back on when their abuses became too severe. Had it not been for me, you would have died before you even reached your ninth birthday. As for what I want from you, that's easy: nothing. I want nothing from you, but I do want to help you survive until fate says it's time to move on. However, with the injuries you've sustained from your little encounter with the Horntail, it is unlikely you'll survive."
Dante's words struck Harry dumb. He wouldn't be able to pull through his latest trip to the hospital wing, or tell Hermione how much he loved her? Harry soon began trying to think of a way to get back, but Dante, knowing what he had in mind, began to speak again.
"Harry, I know this is hard to believe, but there is truly nothing you can do. Your body has lost too much blood from the Horntail's attack. You're not going to live to see the next dawn. However, there is one way to come out of this. Which is why I have a proposition for you: Merge together with me."
"But what about Hermione? Sirius? The rest of my friends? What will happen to them? Are they just going to be abandoned and forgotten about?!"
"I knew you'd ask that. And to be honest, what do you owe the wizarding world anyway? As for your friends, only Miss Granger believed that you were an unwilling participant in this tournament. I know that you've fallen head over heels for her, but your time in this world has come dangerously close to ending. In fact, you probably WILL die from your injuries. The only thing I can do to help is merge with you, but you won't remember her."
Now Harry was angry. He was going to die, but when he revived, he'd forget Hermione?! She would be heartbroken if he died. Who would she have left to confide in, to laugh with, cry with, hug, or maybe even kiss? Ron? Please. The redheaded twit couldn't even have a civil conversation with her. Ginny? Fat chance. If Harry left Hermione, she would be alone at Hogwarts, friendless. Dante seemed to read Harry like an open book, because his next words pulled Harry from his musings.
"Look, Harry. I didn't say that you would remain dead, I just said that there is a low chance of you surviving this ordeal. Which leads me to my proposal: Merge spirits with me. Unfortunately, your memories will be completely wiped, so there will be nothing left. Instead, we will have the best aspects of both of our personalities, though mine will be more dominant. We will have no memory of family, friends, birthdays, or your time at Hogwarts. But, since you were a Triwizard Champion, I will still have to compete, as you're still bound by the Goblet of Fire's contract. What do you say?"
Mulling Dante's offer over, Harry began weighing his options. On one hand, when he awoke, his memory would be gone. However, this was also a clean slate, a new start. The offer seemed like a good one, but there was one thing that he needed to clear with Dante.
"If I accept this, will you get to know Hermione and be there for her? She'll have no one to turn to, and it will be like first year again for her, she'll be friendless and alone. I can't bear the thought of Hermione having to relive that, on top of the pain she may feel when I die. Please, will you be there for her? Also, will you help get Sirius cleared? He was innocent of the crimes he was imprisoned for, and I think that would help him."
Seeing the pain and sincerity in his eyes, Dante replied that he would be there for Hermione, and agreed to clear Sirius. He then said that when the change happened, Dante would make sure he befriended the brunette. However, there was one more thing Harry needed to know.
"Oh, Harry. Before you go, I'm going to give you enough strength to say goodbye. Then, after you die, I will need at least a few days to complete the changes in your body. I wish I could do more, but it is what it is." Dante said solemnly.
"It's fine, Dante. Thank you."
Harry then watched Dante depart and felt his mind begin to go blank. As his subconscious began to fade into blackness, Harry saw a light and walked through it. With it, Harry James Potter emerged from his mind, knowing he didn't have much time left.
Hogwarts Hospital Wing, 23 November 1994
Poppy Pomfrey was alerted to the change in her patient's condition within an hour after Harry's accident. Due to the nature of his injuries, and her need to attend to them, the mediwitch had kept everyone out of her ward. But, now that Harry was stable, she could let a few people in. Rushing out to break the news, she wasn't surprised when a young brunette asked about Harry.
"Miss Granger, relax. Mr. Potter is stable now. If you want, you may visit him."
Pomfrey had barely finished her sentence when Hermione rushed to Harry's bedside.
"Harry, I'm here." Hermione said softly to the unconscious form of her best friend.
Despite the silence, she continued.
"I know you probably can't hear this, but I need to say it or I'll go mad. I love you, Harry. I've loved you since second year. Madam Pomfrey told me that you came every day to see me when I was petrified. She said that every time you were here, you took my hand in yours. Well, now, it's time for me to return the favor."
With that, Hermione reached out and held Harry's hand in hers, noting how right it felt. Gently tracing her thumb along the back of his hand, she was surprised when Harry squeezed her hand.
"Harry, you're awake!" she cried out excitedly.
Opening his eyes, Harry took in the angelic face of the girl he loved, even though it was tear-stained and her eyes were red and puffy. Smiling, Harry spoke for the first time since his accident. However, he made sure that he said what needed to be said as he wouldn't have much time.
"Hey Hermione. How are you?"
"I'm fine now, Harry. You gave everyone quite a scare when the dragon hit you. But, at least you'll walk out of here in a few days as good as new." Hermione said, immensely relieved that Harry was coherent. He'll be good as new in no time. Hermione told herself, although a small part of her mind doubted Harry was truly alright.
Harry knew this, and hated to kill Hermione's good mood, but she deserved to know the truth. He didn't want her to have a false hope, but a hope nonetheless.
"Hermione, there's something you should know. This won't be easy to hear, but just bear with me. I... I won't be around much longer, I lost too much blood from the accident. The only way I'm conscious right now is because of magic."
This news quickly dampened Hermione's mood, and she was quick to voice her denials. In her desperation, she began speaking rapidly.
"Harry, you... you can't be dying. Why don't you stay? How can you leave us? Leave me? Please, Harry, just hold on. Stay with me, I-I can't bear the thought of losing you. I love you." Her voice had gradually gotten smaller and more emotional, but her rational brain told her that Harry was right. Nobody went toe-to-toe with a Hungarian Horntail like Harry did and lived to tell the tale. However, things involving Harry Potter happened to be impossible by any stretch of the imagination. Despite these facts, Hermione's heart kept saying that Harry would pull through.
Harry, noting her reactions and the look on her face, decided to cut to the chase. Knowing she loved him didn't make what he had to say any easier.
"I know, Hermione. But, please, use that amazing brain of yours to see the truth. If the only way I'm even coherent with you is through magic, my body is too weak to ensure survival. Believe me, I would love nothing more than to be able to walk out of this hospital wing with you on my arm. However, this beyond either of us. My time here is quickly drawing to a close, and you need to accept that."
Her silence gave him the strength to continue, even though his emotions were starting to show. Summoning all of his Gryffindor courage, Harry sat up, moved his hand from Hermione's and cupped her cheek with it. Then, before he she could say anything, he pulled her head closer to his and gently kissed her on the lips. Hermione's eyes widened in surprise, then they closed, allowing herself to bask in the bliss of her first kiss. Holding their current position for a few seconds, they then broke apart. Harry took this moment to lie back down before speaking again. As he did so, he felt the magic that was keeping him alive weakening. With grim resignation, Harry finished telling Hermione what she needed to know.
"Hermione... just know... this. I-I'll... always... be there... for you. Even if... I can't... be with you... in body. I-I'll... be here... in spirit. Just... keep me... in your heart... and... I'll never... truly... be gone. Please... tell Sirius... he deserves... to know. I... love... you. G-Goodbye."
His voice had been growing steadily weaker, and his breathing increasingly labored. Harry's words had become so quiet that they were barely above a whisper. Then, with one last breath, Harry James Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, was gone.
The silence that followed was too much for Hermione, who gently shook Harry. Softly calling his name and getting no response left her feeling empty, alone. When her mind finally accepted that he was gone, she broke down.
Madam Pomfrey had long been alerted to the situation, and as Harry died, she cast the spells that confirmed his passing. Gently placing a hand on a now distraught Hermione's shoulder, Poppy quietly said,
"I'm so sorry, Miss Granger."
Knowing she was being sincere, Hermione accepted the apology before making haste to leave the hospital wing. She was reeling from the loss of her best friend. When she tearfully broke the news to her housemates that night, only Ron Weasley seemed smug about it. Everyone else gave their condolences and muttered apologies. Some, like Lavender Brown, surprisingly, gave the poor girl a hug, whispering comforting words in her ear. Despite everyone's best efforts, Hermione was inconsolable. After reaching her four-poster bed, she drew the curtains around her bed before crying herself to sleep. Hermione soon fell into a grief-induced depression.
Hermione would never be the same person again after that fateful day.
Hogwarts- 30 November, 1994
One week had passed since Harry Potter died from injuries sustained while facing the Hungarian Horntail during the First Task. Hermione Granger was revising a Transfiguration essay when her mind wandered once again to that day. No matter what she did, Hermione's thoughts always returned to the day her only true friend died.
She had never felt so alone in her life.
Correction- she had felt loneliness like this before: in her first year, when she first arrived at Hogwarts, she was friendless, isolated because of her intellect and her commitment to the rules. This time, however, the friends she did have were only acquainted with her because of her association with the now-deceased Harry Potter. After he died, these people never talked to her again. On top of that, she suffered from such serious depression that even if anyone wanted to be friends with her, they didn't remain friendly for long. She still excelled in her classes, but she no longer relished in showcasing her knowledge. So, she turned to the one constant in her life: books. She would practically live in the library during her free time after classes. No one ever spoke to her, or even acknowledged her presence.
Now, she just felt hollow. Not even her books gave her the comfort they once did. In fact, nothing could comfort her anymore. A talk with her parents helped alleviate some of the grief, but other than that, Hermione was now as withdrawn and as introverted as she was before she started Hogwarts, if not more so. During one of her private musings, Hermione was startled by the voice of Professor McGonagall.
"Miss Granger? Will you please accompany me to my office?"
"What for, Professor?" Hermione asked, genuinely confused on why her Head of House wanted the girl in her office.
"I'll explain when we get there."
With that, Hermione walked with her favorite professor to her office. Once there, Hermione was surprised to see her parents sitting there. Matthew Granger had his daughter's brown eyes, but his nearly black hair was shot with streaks of grey. Her mother, Anna, was an older carbon copy of Hermione.
"Mum? Dad? What are you doing here?"
As soon as the question came out of her mouth, Hermione found herself being hugged by her mother. Her father then began to explain.
"Your Professor here sent a letter to us about your friend and how you're coping with his passing."
At the mention of Harry, Hermione unconsciously began to tear up, and hugged her mother tighter as sobs threatened to break through. Anna, motherly instincts taking over, gently stroked Hermione's hair as she whispered comforting words in her ear.
"Sweetheart, could you please tell us what happened? We can't help you if you don't talk about it." Anna said gently, still holding her daughter.
After calming down, Hermione launched into her story. The elder Grangers paled when Hermione talked about Harry facing off with a nesting dragon, but kept their heads overall. Their daughter, however, began to struggle to remain composed as she talked about the more emotional part of the story. By the time she got to the point of Harry's death, composure failed her, and she collapsed into sobs. Matthew, unable to see his little girl in pain, pulled her into his arms and just held her while she cried.
"Shh, it's okay, honey. Let it out." Matthew said soothingly.
Anna also threw in her piece. As a trained medical professional, she was adept at spotting the signs of depression, and she was saddened that her daughter was showing signs of severe depression.
"Hermione, it's okay to mourn. But would Harry want you to basically shut down? It's one thing to grieve, it's another to just fall apart."
After spending another hour and a half with her parents, Hermione left for Gryffindor Tower feeling somewhat comforted by her parents' words. However, when sleep claimed her, the memories of that fateful day came back to haunt her.
She would spend the next few weeks screaming and crying in her sleep.
St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, 30 November, 1994
Meanwhile, in the morgue of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, the body of Harry Potter was undergoing some serious changes. The marks of injury that covered his body began to disappear. His body filled out, his untidy mop of black hair lengthened and became actually tame, and he became taller, topping out at five feet ten inches. If not for the fact he was dead, he would have passed off as a healthy fourteen-year-old. Then, he opened his eyes, and instead of being emerald green, they were now mostly sapphire blue. The original green color was only visible around the pupil and faint around the edge of the iris.
Harry Potter was dead. However, in that moment, Dante Cross officially entered the world.
Hogwarts would never know what hit it.
Author's Note: I know that Hermione seems a little out of character, but she will always be the highly intelligent young woman she is in canon. Later, she will learn to accept that Harry's gone, but will Dante be able to repair her broken heart? Find out next chapter!
Thanks go to cdunn2010 for the suggestion of merging Dante and Harry's personalities. I honestly hadn't thought of that, but to clarify, Dante is NOT the embodiment of Voldemort's unintentional Horcrux. He is merely the side of Harry he never shows because he doesn't want to be as bad as the way he was treated (The Golden Rule and all). I would also like to thank Man of Constant Sorrow for suggesting Harry telling Hermione to inform Sirius of the events of the First Task and Harry's death.
I would like to point out that this story is still somewhat in its rough format, it is nowhere from being finalized. Read and review, and please leave constructive criticism if you have to critique it. Flames will not be tolerated. Also, I will not accept anonymous reviews, so if you review, please leave identification. Thank you.
Until next time,