a/n: All the names you do not recognize are characters I have created to represent the actors in the Harry Potter films. All the names are fictional and not representative of real people.
“We’ve got a situation here, Dave. I think you should come with me.” Alonzo Cardoza’s voice was a higher pitch than normal, reflecting his worries.
“What’s going on? Is everything ok?” David asked the man.
“Not exactly. It’s Russell. He kind of freaked out on us during the hospital wing take. Don’t know what got into him. He’s huddled in the hallway crying, and he won’t talk to anyone. Keeps asking for ‘Harry.’ I think maybe you should go see to him.”David had a confused and rather skeptical look on his face. He’d had practical jokes played on him before on the set, and this sounded exactly like something they would try to pull on him again, so he was wary about being gullible enough to believe any of it. All the same, David was curious to see what the commotion was about. He closed the door to his dressing room, leaving behind his script with his make-up only half finished.
Alonzo led David to the place where Russell sat, and they saw a crowd of people huddled around cooing and trying to comfort the panicked boy. If anything, they probably only made him more frightened. David kindly asked the spectators to give them time, then knelt down beside his scared co-star and put a hand on his shoulder.
“Russ, mate, you all right?” David’s voice was soft and comforting, yet didn’t receive a pleasant reaction; Ron only bawled harder.
He looked up into David’s face, tears streaming all the way down to his neck and choked out, “You called me that, too! Why? Please don’t call me Russell—my name is Ron! Come on Harry, I’m Ron!” His sobs grew more violent and desperate than ever. David’s heart wrenched in anguish at seeing his friend so hurt, so he did the only thing he thought could work: he played along.
“You’re right, Ron. I’m sorry. Do you want to tell me what happened?”
Ron nodded his head, but was crying so furiously that he could hardly breathe, let alone talk. David draped his arm over Ron’s shoulders, but Ron felt he needed more than that and grabbed David into a powerful hug. The boys stayed sitting in the hall for what felt like hours until Ron had calmed down. He then started asking David questions upon questions about who all the people were at Hogwarts and what they were doing there. He asked why they called him Russell, and why nothing seemed right. David decided to break the news slowly.
“Maybe they think you’re someone else. You know, like mistaken identity. Or maybe, you really are Russell and you just don’t remember because you’ve gotten yourself so wrapped up in your character, Ron. Sometimes actors get so involved that they actually feel like their characters sometimes.”
“What are you talking about? I’ve always been Ron. There’s no way I could be someone else; it just doesn’t make sense! And another thing—why was I in the Hospital Wing? I’m not hurt at all!” Ron was sounding frantic because he had so many questions still left unanswered.
“We’re filming for the Prisoner of Azkaban. Remember the scene where the ‘grim’ bit you to get at Scabbers; well there’s a hospital scene after that because your leg was so badly mangled. That’s why you were in the Hospital Wing.”
“What!? Filming? What’s that? Harry, that thing with Scabbers and the grim happened years ago! Why would I still be in the hospital? And you know the grim isn’t really a grim—it’s Sirius. I think you’re confused, mate. I need to find my girlfriend… She’ll know what’s going on.” With that, Ron stood up and began to walk down to the opposite end of the hallway.
David was feeling like he was in way over his head. “Girlfriend? Who—“ Ron angrily turned back to interrupt David.
“Hermione! You know, bushy brown hair, big front teeth, always got her nose in a book? Hermione—our best friend! Hermione who always outdoes EVERYONE on their homework? Hermione the perfect daughter and perfect student? Hermione—MY GIRLFRIEND!” Ron stormed off at a fast trot, and then broke into a run as he barged into every room in the hallway looking for her. David heard shrieks coming from the girls’ dressing rooms and let out a nervous chuckle before charging after him.
“Hermione! There you are! Please…I’ve been looking all over for you—“ Ron panted and struggled to talk.
“Russell! What are you doing in here? I’m half-naked! Please give me a moment…”
“My name IS NOT RUSSELL! How many times do I have to tell everyone!?” Ron became so flustered and frustrated that despite how much he wanted to appear brave and strong in front of his girlfriend, he felt his strength give way and collapsed on the floor into hysterical sobs. Amy rushed to his side, forgetting her robe costume was completely unbuttoned above her waist.
“Oh goodness! What’s the matter? What’s happened to you?” She rubbed his back and tried to calm him enough to get some answers.
“I don’t know… Nobody knows who I am, not even my own girlfriend! There are strangers all around Hogwarts, and even our school looks different! I’m so scared…” Amy’s face went white upon hearing these words. She knew immediately what had happened: Russell had gone mad. His reality had been completely taken over by the character he portrayed.
She held the crying boy in her lap and stroked his long red hair until his exhaustion caught up with him and he fell asleep. Amy pondered what could possibly be done to help him, but was extremely discouraged when she thought of nothing.
David entered a while later with Russell’s parents. He explained the situation with them, and insisted that they didn’t worry about their son because everything would soon be fine. Of course, a parent’s worst nightmare is that something awful would happen to their children, so needless to say the Greens didn’t take the news too well.
Ron was still sleeping snuggled next to Amy, whose shirt was still unbuttoned. Mr. and Mrs. Green gave her disapproving looks and she immediately gathered it together. David came to her aid and told them, “Amy’s been here with him most of the day. Hasn’t moved a muscle, in fact. Since Russell thinks he’s Ron, that means he still thinks Amy is Hermione, and is therefore his girlfriend. She was kind enough to do her best to soothe him.” The Greens’ faces softened considerably.
Mrs. Green still looked stricken with grief as she looked down at her sleeping son. “My baby… How can this have happened?”
Mr. Green walked over and gently picked up Russell, holding him like a child. “Thank you, Amy. Russell is so lucky to have a friend like you.” She smiled weakly back at him.
“And you, David. Thank you so much for notifying us. You’re a good man, and what a blessing it is for my son to have someone care for him so much.” Mrs. Green nodded in agreement, but couldn’t add any of her own words of thanks because of her emotional state. They left the dressing room and closed the door quietly behind them.
Hermione was still in shock from the whole thing, and her gaze fixed at a spot on the wall. David neared her and offered a hand to help her up. “Are you ok?”
Amy’s stiff muscles screamed at her as she stood. She shook her head deliberately. “No…I’m so worried about him, David.” She threw her arms around his neck as tears streamed down her face.
“I know. We all are.” He hugged her and did his best to assure her that everything would be ok.
“What’s going to happen when he wakes up? Will he know who his parents are? Will he know his house? Oh, he’s going to be so scared…” Her tears flowed harder as she could think of no solution to this very real problem.
“We can go see him tomorrow. How’s that? I’m pretty sure he’ll be needing our company.” David lightly scratched her back and twirled her hair to calm her, just as Travis Fredricks entered.
“You putting the moves on my woman, Dave?” Travis laughed, conveying his joking demeanor. He then realized his girlfriend was crying.
“Amy, baby, what’s wrong? David, what’d you do to her?” Travis’s face was a mix of emotions, concern for his girlfriend and confusion as to what had caused her to be upset.
“No, honey, David didn’t do anything. You mean you haven’t heard what’s happened to Russell?” She pulled away from David and Travis wrapped his arms around her waist.
“I failed to receive that memo. Somebody want to fill me in?”
“Something awful has happened, but we don’t know exactly what it is or how it happened. Just all of a sudden he didn’t remember who he was anymore. He—he thinks he’s Ron. He hasn’t listened to anyone; he was just in here with me for a very long time, sleeping. He was so scared…” The tears that had begun to subside started flowing again.
“Oh my god…” Travis couldn’t believe it. He had always liked Russell, and while they hadn’t been best friends or anything, they had always gotten along fairly well.
David told Travis about his encounter with him in the hallway, and about going to get his parents. “We’re going to go visit him tomorrow, as we doubt he’ll be in for work.”
“I’m going, too.”
“Sweetheart, you can’t. Remember he thinks he’s Ron, therefore he still thinks you’re Draco, and Draco and Ron are not friends. Do you know how much it would mess with his mind if you showed up at his house?”
“I guess you’re right.” He gave a sideways look at David, and then continued, “Is anyone else going with you?”
“What? You don’t trust me? Travis, this is no time to be jealous; we need to be thinking of Russell, here. And besides, I love you.” She gave Travis a quick peck on the cheek that made his pale face go pink, and was glad she hadn’t reminded him that Russell would also think she was still his girlfriend.
“You’re right. I’m sorry.” He turned to David, who accepted his friendly handshake. “Good luck, tomorrow.”
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