a/n: This may have been inspired by a dream I had after watching the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast because, well, Emma Watson. It's based on the original movie though because I know the story better. It just kind of expanded from there but I forgot about it at some point in 2018 and just found it again and finished it tonight. So, here's another midnight fic. Hope you enjoy!
Ron was gone.
Harry had won, they were saved. Voldemort could no longer hurt them. But the Death Eaters still lurked in the shadows. They did not fall with their master. One had managed to fire off a curse, the sickly green one that filled her nightmares. It hit the redhead standing next to her.
Hermione fell to the floor in shock, hands covering her mouth. He couldn't be gone. He just couldn't be. Harry had turned at the last second and he ran toward her, horrified as he watched his best friend fall.
Hours bled into days which bled into weeks. She refused to accept he was gone. She couldn't believe they had made it so far only to lose him in the aftermath. Harry didn't forgive himself. He thought it was his fault. She couldn't muster up the words to say he was wrong.
It may not have been anyone's fault, but she couldn't stay near these people. She was staying at the Burrow because she had nowhere else to go, but they all reminded her too much of him. Hermione made her decision.
She left. She went to Australia, searching for two people whose shoulders she had always cried on. She only found one.
Ron was gone. Her mother was gone.
Her father was still there, and it only took a couple waves of her wand to remind him of her existence. She had studied enough that she was prepared to do what she needed to in order to ensure that she could lose no one as she had Ron. She left the magic out of her father's memories, it was something even she didn't want to remember.
They moved to France, as they both knew the language but it was far from memories of her mother. They went to a small village town that seemed like a land out of time. No one even seemed to have an internet connection, but Hermione didn't mind too much. She forced herself to ignore the magic she could feel from the woods. She couldn't take the pain, it was too much, she just wanted to forget it all.
She spent the night carefully going through her father's memories, changing them again. He believed he was French, and that her name was a different, French one. She told herself that it would protect them, that it was the right thing, the only thing she could do. Once she was done, her wand was turned on herself. She focused on what she wanted done, and whispered the word that would save her. "Obliviate." Her wand was sent to Harry with an owl, as she wanted him to know that she was safe.
Ron was gone. Her mother was gone. Hermione's memories were gone.
Belle woke up the next morning, ready for another day in the boring town she and her father had called home ever since the accident she had at her school. She had fallen down one of the many large staircases and lost her memories dating back to when she was eleven. She remembered some vague things, but according to her father she probably wouldn't remember much more. She couldn't bring herself to care, as she remembered school from when she was young and the other children had always been quite rude. It was odd only having minimal memories of the past seven years, but she pushed past it.
Her life had gone as one would expect. There was a man in the town, Gaston, who wouldn't leave her alone. He was tall and intimidated her, especially because she still felt so young, though she was beginning to feel closer to her age. In her mind she imagined the man blonde and weaker, though she couldn't imagine why. Sometimes she had to stop herself from calling him by another name, but she wasn't sure what that name would have been. She thought it was something ridiculously aristocratic, but she couldn't be sure. His friend Lefou was, in her mind, bigger and stronger, and occasionally duplicated. She felt a tinge of sadness when she saw him sometimes, but she ignored it.
Every day was like the next, and the one before. She would always go to the bookshop and borrow a book or two so she could try to fill the gaps in her memory from her concussion. Still, she didn't restrict herself to nonfiction. Her favorite book always reminded her of something she couldn't quite place. It had far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, and a prince in disguise. The day of the fair, the man had told her she could keep it. She kept to herself that she thought he would look nice with a long beard and half moon spectacles. It was a strange thought, but she had grown quite used to those during her time in the village.
She saw her father off, happy his machine worked. She quickly grew worried, however, when their horse returned without him. She left in search of him, imagining she was riding a bony, invisible pegasus through the skies above London. She shook the image out of her mind as she arrived at castle gates.
Belle's memories were gone. She would never see her father again.
The Beast who owned the castle was fearsome, but his servants were nice enough, though they were animated furniture. She often thought they reminded her of some people she had once known. She felt an odd sort of connection with Mrs. Potts, as if she had looked up to her all her life. She wondered if she would have worn glasses had she been a human.
The Beast insulted her, and she ran. She was attacked. Her sense of deja vu only grew stronger. The wolves didn't smell as bad as she for some reason expected. He saved her, the Beast did, and somehow she expected it. Yet she couldn't stop her eyes from searching for another savior. She didn't know why she expected two.
He stumbled, and it was her turn to save him. It was her fault, as she told Mrs. Potts later, and she healed his arm with a slight smile. She wondered if they would become friends. She felt an odd pull to sit by his bedside, so while the servants spoke she stayed with him. She almost expected someone else to burst into the room.
Over the next few weeks, she got to know him better. They bonded over the birds, and though he took some convincing she was able to get him to like her horse. They had a snowball fight and she laughed, imagining many similar fights outside of a similar castle.
He learned better table manners and she learned to give him more leeway. He showed her a library and her heart soared. They spent many hours there, reading to each other, and she found herself oddly grateful that he liked reading although he had resented the books at first.
One night, the servants planned a ball. Becoming his friend had been like falling into old habits and she loved it. She didn't know why she was so drawn to him, but it felt like coming home. She put on the beautiful dress, seeing a flash of blue in her mind's eye as she put on the golden fabric. As she walked down the stairs towards him, his gobsmacked expression felt familiar and new all at once.
When they danced, she felt like she was floating. She had known it for a while, that she was falling for him, but something deep within her had tried to keep her from saying it. But then they had been standing outside and she had seen her father sick. So when he said she could leave she didn't question it.
Belle's memories were gone. She would see her father again. But she would never see the Beast again.
The next hours were a blur as they tried to take her father from her. Gaston's promises left a sour taste in her mouth and she wanted nothing more than to punch him, though she held herself back. Then she had made a horrible mistake and led them to the Beast.
When she was finally able to escape and get to the castle, she found it like a war zone. Somehow she knew how to act, and she decided not to question it as she went after the one she had grown to love.
But she was too late, and though she proclaimed her love for him and the castle was turned to its original state, when he turned back into a human he was still mortally wounded. The servants gathered with her as they all cried, for lifting the magic had come with far too great a cost.
There was something else, a cost to Belle, that no one had anticipated.
Ron was gone. Her mother was gone. Hermione's memories were no longer gone. Her father was in the castle with her. But the Beast was gone.
The magic that lifted the spell on the castle had also lifted the spell on Hermione's memories.
Hermione spent the next few days locked in the library, knowing that the servants, and her father, would assume that she was mourning in her own way. But in truth, she was dealing with the ramifications of having seven years of memories restored to her. And she was mourning, newly, for all of the people she had lost, though she was also mourning the Beast. She understood the flashes of memories that had called to her throughout her time as Belle, just as she understood that her place was no longer in the castle.
She spoke to the servants, guiltily telling them the same thing she had told Harry: that she could not bear to be in a place with so many memories of her lost love. Mrs. Potts, whose understanding reminded her so much of Professor McGonagall's, promised that they would all take good care of her father as they learned to be human again.
Ron was gone. Her mother was gone. The Beast was gone. Her father was safe in the Beast's castle.
Hermione left on a journey to find healing and help herself. She considered going to Harry, regretting leaving him at such a difficult time for both of them, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. That also left her without a wand, but she couldn't bring herself to care. She thought about going back to the village, but she would feel guilty there. It was only so primitive because of the magic near it, which had stopped technology from ever working. And she had already upended their lives enough.
She could not forget again, either, which was probably for the best. She hadn't considered enough the ramifications of erasing her memories the first time, and it had truly been an act of escapism. She wouldn't do that again.
She decided to go somewhere completely new, somewhere that didn't have castles that would only cause her to reminisce about the loves she had lost. She also vowed to never again fall in love, for love had only served to hurt her and she would not doom another boy to death.
Hermione moved into a new home, where she would be able to combine her interests and be alone. It was in Scotland, something she ignored in favor of the relative remoteness of the location. It made her feel close to home, to Hogwarts, without the pain that came from seeing the castle itself.
She made potions and lived alone, gathering a reputation as an eccentric woodcarver in the neighboring towns. Somewhere along the way, time seemed to slow and speed up at the same time. The world almost seemed to be regressing, and she wondered if she had accidentally entered a new universe. Once, she walked outside only to see a trail of blue spirits that almost reminded her of cornish pixies, though the spirits were much nicer.
A dark-haired boy came to visit her when her many years of life had stolen her early memories and left her looking older than even Dumbledore ever had. He asked for the strength of many men, and she warned him of the consequences but acquiesced.
She gave him one of her own creations, made through much trial and error. She hoped that he would be okay, letting herself believe that he would be like the dark-haired friend that she had long forgotten. She didn't hear of him again for many years.
Everyone she had loved was gone. Everything she had known had changed.
But there was a new girl now, one who reminded her so much of someone she had long since forgotten. She was a redhead with an overbearing mother and brothers.
She did her best to help the girl, remembering a mother's fight in the midst of a battle. She remembered a mother's love saving children many times. In the midst of a castle battle, a mother had fought to save her daughter. And it was that daughter that this girl reminded her of. She was almost sure. So she gave her the potion, hoping it would work as intended.
She hoped that the girl would be okay, trying not to think about the side effects of the potion. She left a message for the princess just in case the girl needed to undo the potion, but she had been running for too long. She gave a false explanation for where she was going, as the girl would never understand.
With a sigh and a last glance at the shop she had grown from practically nothing, she left. For it was about time she visited the places she had long avoided. The girl had reminded her too much of those she had lost.
Though they may be long gone, she would search for their graves or simply spend time where they had once been together. She had let herself heal, but she had never returned to the places where her happy memories resided. It was time to remember.
Everyone she had loved was gone. But she wouldn't let herself lose the last of her memories of them.