[A/N: This short piece was inspired by a passage in Chapter 20 of “Bobmin’s” excellent fic Sunset Over Britain, and the author respectfully dedicates this small flight of fancy to Bob and Alyx. Those who haven’t already looked at their story (it’s not PS-compliant, but it is very good) can find it at http://bobmin.fanficauthors.net/index.php
Disclaimer: the characters in this story are the property of JK Rowling and assorted corporate entities including, but not necessarily limited to, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Warner Bros Studios. No challenge is intended to the copyright of Ms Rowling’s work, nor will any payment of any sort be accepted for this story, which is a work of amateur fanfiction.]
Harry took a deep breath and did his best to calm his taut nerves.
It was time. They’d planned this for quite a while, ever since Hermione had found the old book on Memory Charms in the Restricted Section of the Library and, in a characteristic stroke of genius, had the idea to combine one of the more powerful ones with the Fidelius Charm. It had taken her some months, even with help from several of the teachers and Order members, to come up with the final version of the spell, and even now they weren’t sure if it would work -- it wasn’t as though they could test it, after all!
Harry looked around at his friends, all of whom did their best to return his gaze encouragingly, and then closed his eyes. He shuddered slightly at the thought of what he was about to do, gathered his courage, and then slowly, carefully lowered his Occlumency shields and began to mentally probe his link with Voldemort.
He was in luck; Tom wasn’t expecting any sort of an attack, especially from Harry, and now, it was too late for him to do anything to stop what was about to happen to him.
Quickly, Harry chanted the unique incantation over a special piece of parchment and “watched” through the link as most of the Dark Lord’s power, memories, and even his personality, were ripped away from him, to be hidden behind the impenetrable barriers created by the Fidelius portion of the hybrid spell. Off to one side of his master, Severus Snape stared in disbelief as the Dark Mark on his forearm seemed to shrivel in on itself and then vanish, releasing him from its horrible influence.
All over Britain, Death Eaters clutched at their arms and then at their heads as the knowledge of their lord and master vanished, leaving them dazed and confused, with huge gaps in their memories -- not least for some of them being exactly what the silly-looking robes and mask they found themselves wearing were supposed to be. Others longer in service to their former Lord remembered that they were Death Eaters, but couldn’t remember what that actually meant other than a vague notion of pureblood supremacy; they knew that they had carried out raids on various targets for their cause, and had fought battles against Aurors and other wizards and witches at times -- but why, and at whose instigation?
In Little Hangleton, a peculiar-looking figure in dark robes stumbled through a graveyard, blinking its red eyes as it tried to work out what had happened. What was he doing here, and how did he get here from the last place he remembered -- the fourth-year boys’ dormitory in the Slytherin House dungeons? And why didn’t his body feel right?
He was so confused that he didn’t notice that he had stepped onto the road running past the cemetery until a large lorry, taking a short-cut through the village to avoid a traffic jam due to a contraflow on the nearby motorway, rounded a corner at high speed and crashed into him; since he had forgotten almost everything that had happened after, in a moment of inspiration while doodling, he had “discovered” a new name for himself in an anagram of his old, hated name, the rituals by which he had extended and protected the semblance of life in the inhuman body that was now so strange, lost their power and he died instantly from the injuries of the collision.
Back at Hogwarts, Harry felt the link with the erstwhile Dark Lord snap as the latter finally died for good; there’d be no resurrection for Tom this time, nor would he possess any human or other creature, sentient or not. His Horcruxes would do him no good since they, too, had forgotten the very thing of which they were a part, and had released their pieces of the twisted, wizened thing that was his soul to join what remained in his body as it passed to its final reward, as some Muggles put it, and Harry could only hope that that reward would involve an eternity of torment in the worst part of Hell.
He looked around again, watching his friends, mentors and comrades in the Order blinking as they tried to remember what they had been doing a few moments ago and why they were in the Room of Requirement at that moment, and quickly stepped out of the centre of the circle to join them as they milled around in confusion.
They couldn’t remember, of course, and they never would, because only Harry could tell them what had just happened, and he had no intention of doing so. Let them forget that there ever was a Dark Lord who killed his parents and terrorised the wizarding world; for that matter, let them forget that there was a Boy-Who-Lived who “defeated” that Dark Lord as a baby, and who had just done so again. Harry could sink into welcome obscurity as the ordinary teenager and Hogwarts student that he’d always wanted to be; all he had to do was keep up his Occlumency shields if anyone ever thought to ask him about some of the large gaps in everyone’s memory of recent history -- but why should anyone think to ask him, now that they had no idea that the Boy-Who-Lived had ever existed, nor that he had just cast Hermione’s special spell?
A few people would remember some of what had happened in his years at Hogwarts, though, and that was both good and bad. The events of his second year would remain in people’s memory; more to the point as far as Harry was concerned, Ginny and her family would remember him saving her from the basilisk and the diary. Unfortunately, she would also remember his short stint as her boyfriend and that he broke up with her at the end of his sixth year, though probably not why he had done it. He just hoped that he could come up with a reasonable enough excuse for her to forgive him; he was certain that she still loved him, though, so she should at least be willing to listen.
He cast a searching glance around the room, and there she was, and she seemed to be looking for him, too. Their eyes met and she smiled in unconscious response to him simply being there. In that moment, he knew that everything would be all right. He would explain as best he could and, if he had to, he’d tell her as much of the truth as necessary -- though as little as possible.
Before that, though, there was one thing that he had to do to finally lay the spectre that had haunted his life from before he was born. After giving Ginny a quick smile and a wink, he turned his back on the rest of the still confused crowd and tapped his wand against the piece of parchment he was holding; a muttered “Incendio” caused it to burst into flames, and it quickly burned to ashes, taking with it the secret that he, the Keeper, was the only person who would know from this day forth:
Lord Voldemort is another name for Tom Marvolo Riddle.
~ Finis ~
[A/N: My Most Esteemed Beta, the excellent AllieKiwi, writes that she expects that many people will want to know how the wizarding world deals with the sudden loss of all knowledge related to “Lord Voldemort” and what various people like the Ministry and future historians (and Hermione ) will make of this huge communal memory loss. She has a point, but I will leave that to others to explore if they see fit; I don’t intend to try it myself. There are a lot of possibilities for what happens next, depending on the ramifications of forgetting about Moldyshorts, and I hope anyone who tries their luck will have fun exploring them. -- Phil]