Everyone would have agreed it was a shame that two weeks passed before Professor Flitwick realized why the child’s feather was failing to rise. “Louder, boy!” he instructed, when he finally reached the far left corner of the classroom to observe the student’s wandwork.
“Wingar—-dium leviosa” the boy had said.
“Don’t pause in the middle, say it smoothly, like this.” Professor Flitwick demonstrated, the feather floating gracefully up a dozen inches then settling back to the desk. “Again!”
And that was when the professor had nodded in understanding and quickly ushered the child to the infirmary.
“No wonder he’s been so shy since he arrived, the poor thing’s ashamed to speak,” he explained to a bustling Madam Pomfrey. She shook three drops of Graphorn Gall onto the terrified boy’s tongue—expensive, but worth it for the permanent fix—flicked her wand twice and spoke the explicare charm. There was a quick red glow across his chin, and a loud pop that made him startle. The boy reached up tentatively to his lips.
“There, let’s hear you now.”
“Wingardium leviosa,” the boy said quietly.
“Ah ha! Very good,” exclaimed Madam Pomfrey. “Back to class, you’ll have those feathers flying in no time.” She escorted them out with a smile, placed her vial of Graphorn Gall back on the shelf, and proceeded to forget the incident entirely.
She wasn’t there to see the boy’s shy eyes when he greeted his parents at King’s Cross in December, his mother gasping at his free-flowing words, his father’s cheeks damp with pride. And many years later, when she noticed a former Head Boy return to Hogwarts with special permission to access the charms library, she could not have recalled their first meeting.
No one saw him alone in the guest quarters that night, pouring over ancient magical-reversal texts, muttering one incantation after another with wand pointed to his lips. “This is my voice,” he repeated quietly between each attempted spell. “This is my voice.” Another flick of his wand. “Th-th-this is my vvvvvoice.”
No, Madam Pomfrey was peacefully asleep after another day of mending the broken. She didn’t hear the man’s long, deep exhale, or see his bitter smile.
(Written and submitted by littleredspaces. This comes with the author’s note: “A look at non-consensual healing and the erasure of disabled identities in the wizarding world.”
I’ll confess, I had to check in with littleredspaces before I understood this fully, not realizing that I had blinders on, so used to my way of looking at the world that I couldn’t understand the horror here. I’m extremely grateful to littleredspaces for taking the time to explain, and, even more so, I’m grateful that this was written. It uses the trappings of the magical world to tell us a story that is decidedly not magical in any way, that is real and all too painful.)