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Chapter 3 : Disastrous
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(chapter image by Camila @ TDA)
Aside from Potions, Elsa would remember her first few days of lessons as mandatory, trivial information. She had managed to scrape through classes with minimal contact with her brother and her betrothed. At the end of the day, she found herself exhausted and wishing for bed well before the rest of her classmates. Reminding herself that it was her own fault that she was tired, she’d collapsed into bed. She would stay up too late going over her books, hoping to memorize just one more bit of information before sleep. She would be found sleeping in the library, an ink splotch on her cheek as she was startled awake with some excuse that she was working on one assignment or another.
Most of her classes were introductions into what they would be learning with the exception of a few, where they jumped right into the work. By the time she finally got into the grove of the theory work, it was time to start with the practical. Practical work was always what brought her grades down. She could write a paper on the correct procedure of casting a befuddling charm, but ask her to actually cast it and she’d fail. So it was no wonder when she was found sitting in the back of the Charms classroom praying that Professor Flitwick would fail to notice that she had yet to attempt casting her Refilling Charm. Practical work was definitely not her strong suit.
“Give it a try, Elsa,” Cordelia whispered, nodding towards the cup in front of them.
“You know I’m not good at practicing spells in front of others,” Elsa murmured and stared at the cup willing it to fill without her casting a spell.
Sure she knew how to cast the spell, but the last time she tried to cast a new spell she’d made a fool of herself and put Abigail Jordan in the Hospital Wing for the night. Charms was just not her favourite class, and she was exceptionally bad at. How she had managed to obtain an O.W.L in it was beyond her, but theoretical work she could do. It was probably the only thing that saved her the year before. But theory was only half the battle. She needed to learn to implement her theories and actually cast a spell without it backfiring.
Sighing, Elsa pointed her wand at the cup and cast the incantation that was meant to fill it, except nothing happened. The cup didn’t fill, it didn’t wiggle or explode, it just sat there. Slumping in defeat, Elsa gave Cordelia an ‘I told you so’ look before reading over the incantation for the fifteenth time. She needed to prove to herself she could do it. It was the only way she was ever going to learn. If she had to practice a hundred times a day, she would until she perfected her casting.
“Try again, but don’t flick your wand so much,” Vera instructed her.
Elsa hadn’t noticed anyone was paying attention to her, least of all her Ravenclaw friends. It had been Vera’s constant help that had given her the self confidence to walk into their O.W.Ls exam with her head held high and several charms under her belt, that she could successfully cast. If she could count on anyone for help on Charms, it was Vera.
“Like this,” Vera said, showing Elsa how to cast without seeming too annoying. “Now you try.”
“This is a bad idea,” Elsa whispered.
Pointing her wand at the cup, she steadied her hand and flicked her wand the way Vera had shown her. The cup wiggled and twitched and filled with the smallest bit of water before it settled. It was better than nothing, and the cup didn’t explode into a shower of water like it had when James had cast it. It was a step in the right direction, and with the right amount of practice Elsa was sure she would be able to perfect her casting.
“That was better,” Vera said happily, and turned back to her cup.
Right, Elsa mused, one day I’d like to cast something perfectly on the first go. Even if that was a silly desire, it was something Elsa had always wanted. She had seen so many of her housemates cast spells so easily, while she fumbled along counting on their support and tutoring to succeed.
Lost in thought, Elsa stared hatefully at the cup that was mocking her, demanding so much of her. She screamed suddenly when she was soaked head to toe, until her screams were lost to a gurgle as she began to sputter up water. Immediately she flew out of her seat, her eyes bulging as she tried desperately to breathe. She wanted to scream at someone to make it stop before she passed out. She caught a glance of her finger tips as they began to turn a nasty shade of blue, and immediately she knew that if she soon didn’t get some air she was going to die.
Professor Flitwick cast a counter curse as Vera and Cordelia tried frantically to figure out some way to help. Elsa took in several large gulps of air before searching the classroom for the culprit that had just tried to kill her. Her first thought would have been James and Sirius – a prank gone horribly awry – except for the look of horror on Sirius’s face. There was no way he would have cast a spell that could accidentally kill her. He and James may have been the self proclaimed Kings of Pranks, but they never set out to kill anyone. It was only when her eyes fell upon Dominic’s smug smile that she knew he had been the one to cast the spell.
Soaked and shivering, Elsa glared hatefully at her brother before flicking her wand over her uniform instantly ringing the water out of the fabric. Followed by a warming charm, she looked at Professor Flitwick hoping he would do something. Had he not seen who had casted the spell? Would he punish her brother for nearly killing her? Was he going to do nothing?
“Twenty-five points from Slytherin for the misuse of a refilling charm,” Flitwick said, looking directly at Dominic. “And detention for a week Mr. Yaxley.”
Elsa was pleased to know that her brother had been the first student to get detention in their year. He had managed to beat Sirius and James at that for once.
When class was dismissed, Elsa waited until after Dominic was gone to leave and head for lunch. The last thing she wanted was to get caught up in his temper again, and she knew he would be fuming at the idea of detention. Not that it was her fault this time. He had been the one stupid enough to cast the charm in the first place, and to think he wouldn’t get caught. It was foolish and he had to pay the price for such reckless behaviour. Of course when their parents heard of what had happened she knew that Dominic would find some way to blame her.
Sirius was leaning against the door frame waiting for her as the class emptied out, a worried expression wrinkling his brow. She walked over to him and peaked out into the corridor to make sure that Dominic wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
“He’s gone. Avery dragged him off as soon as we were let out,” Sirius explained. “Don’t think he was impressed that his ‘future’ wife almost died because her brother is an idiot.” He looked her over, making sure she wasn’t going to pass out on him. “You alright?”
“I’m fine. Frazzled and pissed off, but otherwise fine,” she answered with a heavy sigh.
“We should stop by the Hospital Wing, make sure you really are fine,” Sirius said, and she knew he was saying it because he cared.
“Sirius, if Flitwick thought I needed to go to the Hospital Wing he’d have sent me. I’m fine. All I want to do it go to lunch and then Defence Against the Dark Arts,” she said with a scowl.
“You hate Defence Against the Dark Arts,” Sirius said coolly, draping his arm over her shoulder as they walked towards the Great Hall for lunch. “At least sit with me at lunch. I don’t trust Dominic not to try something again.”
Rolling her eyes, she agreed to have lunch with Sirius and his friends, though she saw little point in it. She would be too lost in thought to pay attention to what they were saying. But rather than argue with him, she would compromise.
“Miss Yaxley,” Flitwick said stopping Sirius and Elsa on their way to the Great Hall. “The Hospital Wing is that way.” He pointed towards the grand staircase.
“I feel fine, Professor,” Elsa tried to explain, but her head of house simply shook his head and waited for her and Sirius to leave.
The walk to the Hospital Wing was quiet despite the squelching of Elsa’s shoes and the her mind racing. Sirius was unusually quiet, which made her glance up at her friend in silent contemplation. If Sirius wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t a good sign, either he was planning some sort of revenge against her brother, or he was too concerned about her well being to voice his opinion. An opinion he had made clear early and she had expected an ‘I told you so’ from him in the very least.
On arrival to the Hospital Wing and its stark sterile walls and beds, Elsa was immediately escorted to a vacant bed.
Did she really look that horrible?
Immediately all Elsa wanted was a mirror, because if she was walking around looking like the walking dead, she wanted to know about it. Instead, she was stuck sitting in bed, watching Sirius look sullen slouched in the chair beside her while Madam Pomfrey went about checking her over.
When the medi-witch concluded her examination of Elsa, she strode over to a cabinet full of potions for every sort of malady or ailment the student body might suffer from before returning. She handed Elsa a violet coloured vial and instructed her to drink it, explaining that it would reduce the bloating she was experiencing, and expel any excess water that remained from the use of the refilling charm. Oblivious to Elsa’s questioning looks, Madam Pomfrey returned to her rounds while she waited.
“Sirius,” Elsa said looking at the vial, “do I really look that bad?”
“Do you want the honest answer, or the one that’ll make you feel better?” Sirius questioned not sure he wanted to answer the question.
Glaring at him Else drank the potion and answered, “the honest answer.”
“You look terrible. Your face is puffy, your eyes are swollen, and you look as pale as Binns on a good day,” Sirius answered, knowing that he risked having her hex him for answering truthfully.
Flopping back against the bed, Elsa sighed in defeat. If Sirius thought she looked that bad, than she probably did. If he could tell her the truth, why hadn’t anyone else thought to mention it to her? She wasn’t a violent person, she didn’t hex people at the drop of a quill, and she certainly preferred the truth over a lie any day. She curled up on her side and waited for the potion to take effect.
“Thank you for telling me the truth,” she muttered.
“Any time,” he answered, and took her hand in his. “Besides, how often do I get to tell a girl she looks like hell and not get hexed for it?”
Rolling her eyes, she watched him lean back in his chair. He didn’t look nearly so worried now. Maybe the swelling was going down and she’d be able to go back to class. Though, the idea of going to any class where Dominic was around scared her more than she wanted to admit. It wasn’t like Dominic to openly attack her, especially not in front of teachers. Had their summer changed so much that he had no qualm with doing so now?
Madam Pomfrey returned from her rounds and collected the empty vial before checking on Elsa again.
“The swelling has subsided, the bloating will as well, but I’m concerned with the water retention,” she explained before grabbing another vial. “This will help expel the excess water, though, it won’t be pleasant.”
“What potion ever is?” Elsa muttered and received a well warranted glare from the medi-witch. “I’ll take it, but what am I looking at here? How bad is this going to bother me?”
“Even that I cannot answer, Miss Yaxley. You will have to take it and wait. You won’t be attending any classes unless you do. Though, I do suggest Mr. Black attend classes, he does not need to be here.”
“Yes he does,” Elsa said before Sirius could object. “I want him here. If this is going to make me feel worse than I do, and since I feel fine now, then I want him here. He’s seen me through worse, I assure you.”
“I’m sure he has,” Poppy muttered and shook her head before agreeing. “He may stay, but only until the end of lunch, then he must return to classes regardless of whether you are with him or not. Is that understood?”
They both nodded and Elsa looked at the vibrant red potion that would help her feel better by making her feel worse. The logic of the potion made little sense to her, but who was she to disagree with a professional healer?
It didn’t take long for the potion to take effect. Almost instantly Elsa felt as though she was going to be sick, and before she could even mention that Sirius might want to leave, she leaned over the side of the bed and promptly threw up all over his trousers. What little she had eaten for breakfast seemed to be washed out by an absurd amount of water when she had thrown up. Sirius’s groans and complaints were ignored as Elsa sobs as she pulled her knees to her chest and willed the pain in her stomach to vanish.
Every time Elsa threw up more water, Sirius was there holding her hair back with little complaint. Though, he did make it abundantly clear that he was not impressed with having been thrown up on, but who else would he let throw up on him if not his best friend? James had often threatened to do just that after one too much butterbeers after a Quidditch Match, more often than not passing out before he could.
Lunch came and went, and Elsa’s heaving had stopped. It was only when Madam Pomfrey checked on her at two minutes passed the hour that Elsa was diagnosed as ready to return to class with strict instructions that if she became violently ill at any point during her lessons she was to immediately return.
“Mr. Black, I must stress this again, while she may feel and look fine now there is the remotest of possibilities that any activity may induce more vomiting. Too much of which will cause dehydration,” Poppy said as she escorted the two students to the door. “I want to see you before you retire for the night Miss Yaxley, to ensure you are well and truly fine.”
“Of course,” Elsa replied not wanting to anger the healer and be stuck in the Hospital Wing overnight.
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