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Chapter 4: November 2025
The cold weather was really beginning to set in around Hogwarts and that made it even harder for me to move throughout the castle. My herbology lessons had been moved into an indoor classroom because the icy ground was too dangerous for my chair. The Ravenclaws in my class hated me for this because they weren’t getting the ‘true experience of magical plants during the winter months’ whereas the students from other houses loved the fact that we didn’t have to stay in the cold for the lessons.
After a particularly gruelling herobolgy class, in which the devil’s snare decided to attach itself to the wheels of my chair, I wearily made my way up to the Howgarts library to start Longbottom’s hideous essay on the benefits of snargaluff stumps in everyday life.
I made my way into an alcove in the wall on the first floor and tapped it four times with my wand. With a loud whirr, that attracted the attention of many passing students the floor underneath me began to push me up through the walls.
I squeezed my eyes tightly shut as I could hear the floor grinding against the walls, only allowing them to open once the, what I supposed I should call it, lift had stopped moving completely. My sight revealed to me that I had, as planned, arrived on the fourth floor outside the library. I smiled at the welcoming thought of old books, mahogany tables and peace and quiet.
Slowly, I moved out of the new alcove and towards the large double doors. I tapped them with my wand and they heavily swung open to reveal the marvellous sent of parchment and ink. I grinned at the little old librarian, Madam Pince, before taking my usual spot near the small fire at the far end of the library.
It wasn’t too busy for the period just before lunch, only a few sixth and seventh years were scattered around the large room, most studying studiously – with the exception of Louis’ cousin Albus – who appeared to have just fallen asleep. Laughing at this sight I grabbed my school bag from behind my chair, and flung it onto the table.
In hindsight, flinging a school bag full of books, parchment and ink onto a hard wooden table was not the best idea I’ve ever had. I shuddered as I heard a sickening smash of glass against wood and, watch with distain as my light blue bag, and the table, became increasingly darker in colour.
Panicking I dragged my bag off the table and moved it onto my lap in a wild attempt to stop the sticky ink spreading. I grabbed my wand and tried to remove as much ink as possible from the table with little success. It just kept spreading, sinking slowly into the old, table – covering the years of marks and dents in a thick coat.
I groaned at the sight and looked around to make sure Madam Pince hadn’t witnessed my catastrophe, I did not want to be banned from my haven in Hogwarts.
As I looked slowly around the library, checking to see if anyone had caught my unintentional act of vandalism I caught the eye of a boy sat alone at a table a couple of rows away from mine. Near enough to the fire that he could be warm but not so near that he would get too hot. As our eyes connected he smiled at me, causing a deep blush to rise up my cheeks. Embarrassed, I quickly looked down at my lap and gasped at the sight that greeted me. My skirt, tights and legs were drenched in the dark, black ink which was still seeping from my bag.
Tears filled my eyes as I fumbled once again for my wand, waving it desperately in an attempt to remove the horrible, thick ink from myself. Due to my own private commotion I didn’t notice the boy walking towards me until he was a few feet away. Looking up at his dark hair I blushed and moved so that my legs were hidden from view underneath the table.
After a few moments of awkward silence the boy broke it, holding out his hand.
‘Hi, I’m Colin.’
Trying not to think about the horrendous condition of my legs I smiled and accepted his hand.
‘Aine’ I replied.
‘Nice to meet you Aine,’ He whispered as Madam Pince walked past, scouring the library for inappropriate behaviour. Once she had made her way back to the front of the library he spoke again, in his gentle whisper. ‘I see you had a bit of disaster with your ink, would you like some help cleaning it up?’
I surveyed his face, taking in the dark hair, crooked smile and his sprinkling of a few freckles across his nose. Deciding he was most likely a nice person I slowly moved away from the table so that he could remove the ink which was now seeping down my grey tights.
Carefully he removed his wand from the inside pocket of his robes and pointed it at my pathetic legs. I felt a rush of warm air make its way towards me and watched in awe as the ink stain shrunk, and eventually vanished from my legs.
‘Thank you!’ I whispered smiling up at him sincerely. It had been a long time since anyone other than Louis or a teacher had taken the time to be nice to me, and it felt good.
‘You’re very welcome Aine’ Colin replied taking the seat next to me. I could feel my face heating up again as we fell into conversation. Talking to people other than Louis was new experience, one which I thoroughly enjoyed.
“I saw you chatting to that Colin again” Mused Louis as we headed along the third floor corridor to my lift, later on that month. I smiled at the quizzical look on Louis’ face as he waited for my reaction.
It was true; Colin and I spoke a lot now days. Whenever Louis was at quidditch practice I would hide myself away behind the never ending rows of bookcases in the library, reading around my subjects and discovering new spells to impress my teachers.
Colin often joined me and I thoroughly enjoyed having someone else to talk to. The conversations were much lighter than mine and Louis’ which recently seemed to have become more and more pessimistic.
“He’s just my friend Louis” I replied as we reached the alcove in the wall, “What’s it to you who I talk to anyway. I thought you’d be happy that I have another friend.”
Louis gave a non-committal shrug and pushed me gently into the alcove. I spun to face him and registered the gloomy look on his face.
“Is Louis William Weasley jealous?” I asked with a sly grin.
He rolled his eyes at me in the typical Weasley style and tapped the wall three times with his wand.
“See you outside the great hall” He said as I snapped my eyes shut and began to descend. Once the lift had stopped moving I opened my eyes to see Louis stood casually outside the great hall, sarcastically checking his watch.
What a douche – I knew for a fact he would have had to race down the stairs to beat me. I made my way towards him, carefully negotiating myself through the large surge of students heading for dinner.
“After you kind lady” Louis bowed as I reached him and I wheeled past into the great hall. We took our usual seats at the end of the Ravenclaw table and I filled my plate up with delicious toad in the hole.
“So” said Louis once I had finishing shovelling the best food in the world into my mouth, “What are your plans this Hogsmede weekend?”
I swallowed the large amount of food and smiled up at him.
“You know, the usual, I’ve got a hot date in Madam Puddifoot’s” I said winking at him.
“With that Colin kid?” Asked Louis angrily, “I’ll kill him … kill him” He muttered darkly.
“No, not with Colin, and you will not be killing anyone, I was joking” I replied exasperatedly. “This weekend I have the excitement of going to the muggle hospitable and trying out a new treatment, so don’t you have too much fun in Hogsmede without me!”
“I never do.” Said Louis seriously.
Our conversation hit a pause until suddenly he grabbed my hand resting on the table.
“Yes Louis?” I replied anxiously
“Can I come with you to the muggle hospitable? Please?”
I laughed and pulled my hand out from under his, “If you want Louis but it will be boring.”
“When I’m with you, Aine, it’s never boring.”
“You ready?” I asked Louis, as we were stood by the fire to the hospitable wing ready to floo to my parent’s house so they could drive Louis and I to the hospitable.
“Hells yes!” He stood in the fire place, “56 Devon Road!” I watched him spin out of sight and wheeled myself into place. Grabbing a pinch of floo powder I copied Louis. Floo travel was always hard in the chair but Dad had managed to charm our fire place so I always landed gently and safely.
“Aine!” I heard him call as I landed in our lounge.
I beamed across the room at my father, who had just been brushing the dust off an uncomfortable looking Louis.
“Dad!” I replied moving near him so he could kiss my cheek. “I’ve missed you!”
“I’ve missed you too dear, you look more stunning every time I see you”
I felt a blush crawl up my cheeks, my Dad was incredibly cheesy.
“You have to say that,” I replied, “you’re my Dad!”
“It doesn’t mean it isn’t true” He replied, ruffling my hair “Taxi will be here in 5 minutes, your mother will meet us there”
Louis’ face broke into a massive grin and exclaimed “We’re riding in a proper muggle taxi?” excitedly as my Dad went to look out of the window onto the street.
“You could give your Grandfather a run for his money from what I heard from Fred, George and Charlie about his muggle obsession” Said Dad peering outside.
Louis looked embarrassed and muttered under his breath.
“Muggle cars are much cooler than wizard cars.”
I laughed loudly at this, trust Louis to think a non-magical car was cooler than a magical car.
“They’re here” Said Dad, interrupting my laughter and the sinking feeling came back to my stomach, now Louis would see me struggle unlike Hogwarts, I was beginning to have my doubts about this trip.
“What we’ll do is lower you into this ice bath in the hope that it loosens up your back muscles Aine,” Said my Doctor “I understand from your notes you received your spinal injury from a football trauma, is that correct”
I nodded nervously, eyeing the ice cold bath with apprehension.
“Now, this treatment has worked for a few sportsmen and women over the recent years, but with damage as significant as yours I can’t make any promises. At the very least it will sooth your lower back muscles a little”
I smiled at the Doctor, he seemed genuine enough, and allow him and my Dad to lift me into the harness that would then lower me into the bath. I looked into the face of my father seeking reassurance but his brow was furrowed as he concentrated on placing me gently in the raised seat.
My head twisted to my mother, who we had met upon arrival, she nodded stonily at me, her eyes as cold at the ice and water I was about to be plunged into.
In a final bid to seek the reassurance I needed I looked to my best friend who was sat on a chair next to the bath. He smiled at me nervously and mouthed ‘Don’t worry’.
I felt the harness begin to be lowered towards the cold bath and shut me eyes anticipating the shock that was sure to follow. My upper body screamed at me as I sunk lower into the bath until finally the water was up to my shoulders. Desperately my right hand reached over the edge, looking for something to grab onto and it was found by Louis.
I looked up into his face as he squeezed it tightly and watched him mouth ‘You can do this’.
A/N: Finally chapter four! You woul not believe how many times I tried to write this - I tried bringing a different plot aspect but it didn't work this early. Still not 100% happy with the chapter but I hope you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you thought in the review box, even if it is only twenty characters long :P
Disclaimer: I own nothing recognisable, including Harry Potter and the world that surrounds it.