Part Five|More Questions than Answers
It had been a fairly wet season. It had been hoped that as springtime wore on, the amount of rain would let up, but it seemed that the opposite had happened. It was now May, and the last hopes in the "April showers bring May flowers" had washed away with the rain.
There had been more days with rain than there had been without, much to the student's dismay. It was with ill luck that Snape was the one set for duty that week, a part of his job that he loathed. It wasn't all that surprising that he took his anger out on the students and refused to let them inside during breaks. "It's only water," he said in his voice, a small hint of a smile playing at the edge of his usually upturned lips, glee at causing the students even more discomfort as they stood in huddles in the corners of the courtyard as they attempted to stay out of the never ending showers.
The Saturday morning of the Hogsmeade trip was greeted with a dull, cloudy, yet surprisingly rainless morning. It brought smiles to the younger students' faces, though the older students were wary; it was impossible that the weather would stay this clear for long. It was best to hurry and do their main business early in the day, before the sky decided to open back up on them.
Ron, Harry, and Hermione were the last to walk down the stone steps outside of the castle, though. Hannah Abbot had cornered Ron the night before after dinner. "Dory's going to meet you outside of Hogwarts. Then you two can go to Hogsmeade together. It'll help her from getting lost before you two even get to talk." The emphasis on the "you two" Hannah had said wasn't lost to Hermione and Harry. "Well I'm sure too many people would overwhelm her," Hermione reasoned. It slightly irked Harry that she was most likely correct; he wanted to watch the exchange between the two.
It didn't take too long to come across Dory. She was accompanied, to Ron's dismay, by what had to be the second most eccentric person in Hogwarts: Luna Lovegood. Ron watched as the two made their way, not from the castle, but up the hill from the Black Lake. As they came closer, Ron became aware of two things. One, Dory was singing a song. It wasn't one that he'd ever heard before, and his guess that it was one she had made up. It was composed of one line, repeated over and over: "Just Keep Swimming." There were a few variations of the words, but for the most part, the song kept going like that. The second thing Ron saw was that she was soaking wet.
The two groups met. Luna was looking rather peeved. Ron thought it was the first time she had ever looked anywhere near normal. "Here she is," she said in a flat voice, her irritation only slightly repressed. "Erm, hi there, Dory," Ron said, eyeing her. Harry had all but died in a fit giggles, hardly masking them with a poorly performed fake cough; Hermione's lips were pursed with equal elation. "Why are you wet?"
"I was swimming in the lake, looking for whales," she replied promptly, her voice bright and cheery, as if that were the most natural thing to be doing at 8 on a Saturday morning. She eyed Harry and Hermione who were behind Ron, their glee not any better hidden. "Who are they?"
Harry actually choked behind Ron. It was pretty much unheard of for someone to not know who he was. "They're my friends," Ron replied, ignoring Harry. "Why were you swimming in the lake looking for whales?" he asked tentatively. "As far as I've heard there's only the giant squid in there. And some merepeople," Ron added as an afterthought. From the corner of his eye, he could see Harry give an involuntary shudder.
It was Luna, not Dory, who answered. "She wanted to prove to me that whales had more magic in their saliva than nargles have in their horns." Luna sounded offended, as if anything could be more powerful than the ever infamous nargle. "I tried telling her that not only are there not whales in the Black Lake, whales don't have magical properties at all. Daddy did a study on them right before he started the Quibbler. He said it was lucky that they even swam straight, let alone had anything magical about them."
"Oh we're talking about whales? I can talk to them!" Dory pipped up. Hermione just stared at her with a look that was crossed between disdain and confusion.
"Yeah, she's been making these horrid noises all morning," Luna added. She then made an imitation of what she said Dory had been doing. It sounded to Ron that she was speaking English, just with a deeper and more elongated syllables. "Like that would work with anything besides a Eumpherant," she concluded.
"Wow, I wish I could speak Whale!" Dory said, looking to Luna in awe. "You'll have to teach me." Harry and Hermione had yet to fully see how Dory was, so they were completely struck dumb at this. "You are so interesting!" Dory was still saying to Luna. "Hi, I'm Dory.
"Thanks," the blonde Ravenclaw said flatly. "Now if you don't mind, I'm going up to Hogsmeade with Hermione. You have fun with Ron." With that, Luna turned on her heel, more than glad to be leaving Dory's company. Harry and Hermione shared a startled look at Luna's rudeness at the retreating Ravenclaw's back.
Harry clasped a hand on Ron's shoulder in a reassuring manner. "Good luck mate," he murmured. Hermione gave him an encouraging nod. She then turned and began to walk briskly after Luna's retreating figure. Harry gave one last look to Ron, then walked back towards the castle. Ron couldn't remember why exactly he was not going to Hogsmeade this time around.
Ron turned to Dory, who was staring up expectantly at him. "I know you!" she announced suddenly. "You're Ron. I found your book in under my bed one time. Did I return it?" Ron only nodded dazedly. "Hm, I feel like we've done more than that. Maybe I'll remember later!" Fat chance, Ron thought as he looked at her hopeful smile.
"Well, shall we go then?" He asked, looking towards the well-worn path to Hogsmeade. To his dismay, the others' silhouettes were long gone. Ron gulped; once again he was alone with this girl.
"Go where?" he heard Dory implore.
Ron gave her a look, and just muttered, "Come on." And they were off.
It seemed that the personality Dory had taken on today was one of a chatterbox, which admittedly was better than the whore, bitch, or crazy slapping I-forgot-I-slept-with-you personalities she had before shown. It was somewhat wearing to listen to her speak non-stop. Endure it, Ron told himself for about the fiftieth time. You both needed to talk, and here she is offering it up. Of course, the topics she had chosen weren't of any use to him.
"I've been to Australia before," she was saying, a new topic being brought up out of nowhere. "It's a nice place."
"Really, I've never been," Ron said to not sound rude. "Did you go to the beaches there?"
"It was actually while I was a fish. I was helping out a clown fish find his clown fish son. We went on an adventure together. There were some sharks, sea turtles, I think a jelly fish or two as well." Dory grinned at the memory.
How does one even respond to that… "Did you, er, find the son?" Ron asked carefully. This was sounding more like one of Luna's stories, and he vaguely wondered if she had somehow inspired it. This story obviously couldn't be true.
"Oh yes, we did! After being almost eaten by a seagull in a dentist's office." Ron only nodded, not wanting to pursue the story anymore.
A swell of voices rose from the background, and as the two rounded the corner, the main street of Hogsmeade came into view. It was filled with students and adults alike, taking as much advantage of the lull in the rain as they could. Ron had always enjoyed trips to Hogsmeade. It presented a chance to stretch the legs, get out of the school atmosphere every once in awhile, an opportunity that Ron had been sure to take advantage of every single time it was presented.
A familiar building came into view, the sign outside of it engraved with the insignia of three broomsticks, indicated the pub that was called just that. "Wanna step into the Three Broomsticks, then?" Ron said without waiting for an answer, pulling Dory into the building behind him. Experience had taught him not to go to empty places if he didn't want to be overheard. They found themselves a small table that was out of the way and quickly ordered them both butterbeers.
"So, is this a date?" Dory asked. The question caught Ron off guard, and he jerked in surprise.
"Dory, do you know why we're even here?" Ron asked slowly, trying to deduce exactly how much she currently knew.
"Well, from that tone, I'd say this isn't a date then." She shrugged, then happily accepted the mug of butterbeer that was offered to her. "Would explain the bag though. Couldn't figure out why you'd bring a school bag on a date." Dory eyed the bag that Ron had placed gingerly on the floor beside his seat when they took their table. Ron had felt foolish bringing it along with him, but he had to agree with Hermione's thinking: how else was he to get the Forget-Me-Not on this little trip without her seeing it and resetting? "But then again, you also got is this shady corner for us to sit at, along with the fact that I shagged you, so you see why I thought it was a date."
"You remember that we, er…" Ron's head snapped up in question. This would be so much easier if she did.
"Oh, wow," she said with wonder. "It seems that I do!" She had a pleased smile on her face. "That rarely happens, me remembering. But if I remembered, then that must mean…" Dory looked up at Ron, her blue eyes gazing wonderingly at him. "You're special. And we're here because I want to find out why you're so special?"
Ron was surprised by the accuracy in her guess. "Well, yeah, I s'pose so. I think you worded it as to get to know each other. But in the end was to see if you could figure out why I was so special enough for you to actually remember things." Ron shrugged and took a sip from his mug.
Dory nodded and looked down into her frothy cup. "There was only one other guy that this ever happened to before," she started, her face scrunched up as she worked on remembering. "We did a lot of stuff together, but we were only in each other's company for a short time. But whatever it was that we did, it was a lot. His name was…" She began to drum her fingers on the wooden table, her eyes closing even tighter as she worked through her cloudy mind. "Marlin," she said finally. "His name was Marlin."
"You sure that wasn't the fish in the ocean," Ron asked sarcastically.
Dory gave a small smile. "Nah. I remember his home address. It was forty-two…. Forty-two something." She shook her head, the effort of remembering such small details were working her over. "Anyways. I have no idea what about him it was, but I know that there was something that helped me remember things when I was with him. And now, I'm with you, and when I see you, I remember things. You're the only person in our year that isn't Hannah whom I've recognized more often right off the bat. It's astounding. Orange!"
Ron looked up in confusion at her outburst. "Sorry?"
"There's something about the color orange that sticks out to me." Eyeing above Ron's face, she cocked her head. "Maybe he had orange hair as well."
"It's not orange, it's red," Ron retorted defensively. He brought a hand up to it and ran a his fingers through it.
"Say what you want. Maybe his hair was orange. Or maybe he had an orange shirt. Favorite color, maybe? What does it matter, I haven't seen him in ages, I think."
A look of sadness fell over Dory's face. Ron sat there awkwardly, not knowing what to say to her to comfort her. How frustrating it must be not to know anything about your past, or even anything about yourself. His mouth was sucking on the straw from his butterbeer began to make loud slurping noises, signaling the lack of liquid in the mug. "Dory, you'd really love to remember things, wouldn't you?" Ron inquired quietly.
She looked up, strands of her blonde hair caught on her nose and streaming across her face. "Oh I'd love to, more than anything," she said in a whisper back. Ron nodded with a sigh. If only he could help her.
A sudden loud rumble rattled the windows. Ron looked through them and saw that the sky somehow managed to look even darker. "Want to head back?" he asked Dory. "Don't want to get caught in the rain." Dory agreed.
A quick ten minute walk later along with an animated discussion on how Dory didn't eat fish because they were "friends, not food!" found them at the entrance to the castle. Before they could open the door, Hannah Abbott appeared out of it. "Hey there, Dory!" She said brightly. "Let's get you inside!" Dory, who seemed to have forgotten Ron's existence, went inside cheerily. Hannah looked to Ron quizzically. "How'd it go."
"I don't really know," Ron confessed. "She talked about some boy and we only had one drink before the rain started to come. I can't tell if she got what she was looking for." Hannah only nodded.
"Well, it was worth a try. See you around, Ron."
Ron was at the top of the seventh floor stairs when loud footsteps came from behind him. He turned and looked, gasping at what he saw.
"Where've you -?" Ron exclaimed as he took a good look at his friend coming up the stairs towards him. "Why are you soaking -? Is that blood?" Ron took in Harry's sudden appearance in shock, the other boy's wet and red stained clothing attracting attention from everyone around.
"I need your book," Harry asked in heavy breaths. "Your Potion's Book. Quick… give it to me…"
"But what about the Half-Blood-" Ron began, his hands quickly going into his bag.
"I'll explain later!" Ron grabbed the book from out of his bag, taking care not to let the plant tip over inside of it. Passing it over, Harry sprinted off without a backwards glance. Ron could make no sense of what just happened, but if it involved Harry and blood, there was no doubt that it could not be good.
Ron couldn't follow his friend, for Harry had run off quickly and knew more shortcuts than Ron did. It was very easy that Harry was already five floors below them and it had only been thirty seconds. Trying not to worry too much, Ron went on to the Gryffindor Common Room.
Finding his usual corner table, Ron pulled out the flower and placed it on the table. Maybe looking at it will make him forget the whole ordeal and he could go on without ever having to deal with Dory again. True, it was unwise to go looking for girls so soon after dating Lavender, but Ron couldn't help but feel somewhat hurt that the first girl he'd come across was too crazy to even remember her own name half the time.
"Oh cool, a Forget-Me-Not!" Ron blinked out of his self-pity to see Neville staring in awe at the blue flower. "It's so interesting how something so normal could be so powerful." Ron supposed that Neville was just talking about it triggering forgetfulness, which he had already heard from Dory and Sprout.
"I was having tea with Professor Sprout today as I normally do every Saturday," Neville continued. "She always tells me more things about the plants we're learning about in class, more than she does in the lecture." Ron gave a hum to give the appearance that he was paying attention. "Like how if you play adolescent Mandrakes loud music they're less likely to try to escape their pots." Mandrakes, wasn't that a second year lesson? "The cool thing with Forget-Me-Not's is that in people who react strongly to them, there can be a potion made that could completely alter their memory. Like if someone got on the wrong side of an oblivation charm, it could bring back what they've forgotten."
Bad side of an oblivation charm? The phrase rang a bell. Ron sat up and stared at the flower. Potion to fix memory problems, is it possible? Dory did react to Forget-Me-Nots, she knew it herself. They could make the potion, and give it to her, and then she'd remember. A slow grin creeped up on Ron's face.
"You remember Professor Lockhart, right?" Neville was saying. "Apparently he got hit with one and that's why he left. But they tried the flower with him but since he didn't react to just the flower, the potion had no effect. Funny how that works. I suppose that I won't have any change in memory with the potion since this flower does nothing already for me, but it would still be interesting to make the potion." Neville smiled and Ron gave him a vacant smile back.
"Thanks for the talk, Neville," Ron said dreamily. He picked up the plant and hopped out of the chair. Leaving Neville at the table, Ron began to head to the portrait hole. Now to find Hermione or Harry. Or both, actually. Between the two of them, they should be able to make the potion perfectly.
He was about to walk out when it slid open, revealing a bushy haired friend. "Oh hullo, Hermione, I was just looking for y-"
"Ron, have you heard what happened to Harry? I only just heard in the hall…"
"What? Oh, I saw him earlier," The image of Harry with blood all over him resurfaced in Ron's mind. "Wait, what happened?"
Before Hermione could say another word, though, the portrait hole entrance opened again, revealing a still blood stained and ghostly pale Harry.
"So you've lost the Prince's book?" Ron asked quietly. Across from him on his own bed sat Harry, distraught as ever.
"Yeah," he muttered after a few moments. Ron couldn't help but feel somewhat annoyed; he was depending on the Prince's notes to guide him through making the potion with the plant that now stood on the bed side table, next to Ron's own copy of the Potions book. But Harry's matter was much more pressing, which Ron understood. He didn't mention his own excursion to Hogsmeade or the potion that could help them help Dory.
"Look, mate, don't sweat it. Term's nearly up. A few detentions with Snape and it'll be over. Besides Hermione can help with the potions stuff." Ron knew his babbling was just to try and get Harry's mind off of what he did, and he knew he was failing at it. Harry was nice enough not to tell him off though.
"Just remind me to let Dean know he'll be Chaser now, and we'll put Ginny as Seeker." With that, Harry pulled the curtains on his four-poster close.
Ron sat there stunned. He had completely forgotten about the final Quidditch game that would take place in exactly a week. They needed a steep number of points over Ravenclaw for them to win, and a large number of that depended on Ron's keeping ability, which was nothing without Harry's pep talks.
Ron drew his own curtains and laid down, trying not to let the full weight of what everything that was going on in his life to crush him.