"Most people don't realize that magic is the natural evolution of hypnosis." I said as I began scribbling the lecture notes on the board. "That is to say, magic is most effective when both the magician and their audience believe in the magic's effect."
I paused for a second and looked to my classroom, where dozens of desks were positioned next to each other in separate rows. All of them were empty except one, which was occupied by a bewitching young woman who went by the name of Nadine. At the time, she was running her hand through her long, dark hair while scribbling silently in her notebook. As she was my only student, I waited for her to finish before continuing.
When she looked up, I took a moment to search her eyes to see if she was comfortable with the course material. I then asked, "Nadine, what do you remember from last year?"
She shook her head, "I wasn't here last year."
"Of course not." I grimaced slightly and said, "You are a freshman after all."
As we continued the lecture, Nadine would interject regularly with well-posed questions. She was clearly more intelligent than other students her age. When the hour was up, I tapped my notes on the desk and said, "Well that's all for now. I'll see you tomorrow to talk about the theory of Aether?"
"Yup!" She nodded vigorously before closing her book with a distinct clap. "I can't wait!"
I took a deep breath to clear my mind and said, "Great. Looking forward to it!" I then ushered her out of the room.
As we went our separate ways, she turned around and said, "Thanks for all the tutoring! I'm really learning a lot!" At the time, I was mesmerized by how the light kissed her cheek and lit up her blue eyes. I unconsciously took a step forward, intending to grab her arm and pull her towards me, but stopped myself at the last moment.
I then nodded and turned around so she didn't see my eyes as they began to water and said, "No problem. I'm a professor. It's what I do."
As I sat down in my office that afternoon, I felt a wave of emotion rush over me and buried my head in my hands. I couldn't do this. Nadine was only a freshman. What was I doing?
I looked up to a picture on my desk, where my wife and I proudly held up our doctorate degrees from almost two decades before. At the time, I was clean-shaven and had short, spiky hair, which was starkly contrasting how I looked today with a scraggly beard and unkept hair. In the image, I was not looking at the camera, but instead at my wife, who was just as bewitchingly beautiful as ever. Long, dark hair. Pastel blue eyes.
As magic researchers, our greatest strength was our unfailing belief in and understanding of each other's magic. Together, we revolutionized the wizarding world, creating more spells than anyone else at the time.
As we got older, our bodies could no longer keep up. Every morning we would wake up to aches and pains in places we didn't know could ache or pain. Though we would make fun of each other for this, my wife became increasingly worried.
One day, over dinner, she looked me in the eyes and said, "I have a solution to all of our problems."
"What do you mean?" I asked while trying to pierce a pea with a fork.
"We are getting older. We can fix that with a spell."
I began to stroke my beard while staring into her eyes. "An age-regression spell? It's theoretically possible, I suppose..." I took a deep breath and nodded, "Yeah. If we use the spells you made last year, mixed with some of my own stasis magic, we could at least stop ourselves from aging."
"No, no." She waved a hand in the air, "I mean, I think I found a way to reduce our ages to be young again!"
After a few hours of discussion, we went to the blackboard and started scribbling away, trying to create the first ever age-regression spell. After a huge amount of trial and error, we were both happy with the results and believed it would work. About a week later, we were ready for the first test.
"Ok, babe. How young do you want to be?" I laughed as I began scribbling the magic circle on the board.
"I don't know..." She began to feel the wrinkles on her face, "18, maybe?"
"18! I don't want to be married to a teenager!"
"Don't worry, we'll send you back too!" She giggled slightly before poking my chest. "You had more muscle back then. I'd like to see that."
We then hugged and kissed before finishing the preparation. I took a step back and nodded at black board before saying, "Ok. I'm ready on my end."
"I'm ready here as well!" She said, "Shall we begin?"
"I guess so." I nodded.
As she began chanting, the circle on the board began to glow a brilliant blue. Soon, my wife began to glow as well. I could see her wrinkles fade and her hips shrink as her hair darkened to it's original color.
After an instant that felt like an eternity, she fell to the floor, limp.
"Nadine!" I called her name and ran to embrace her. I couldn't feel her heart beat and she did not seem to be breathing. A lump formed in my stomach and I began crying, "Oh no no. What have we done? We should have tried this on an animal first. A mouse or..."
I stopped speaking as I felt her begin to breathe again. She slowly opened her eyes but was visibly confused. "What happened?" She asked.
"Oh, Nadine! I'm so glad you are alright! I was so worried." I held her tightly as tears of relief flowed down my cheeks. She didn't move or hug me back. I pushed her away slightly and looked into her eyes, "Nadine? Are you ok?"
"I am fine." Her eyes scanned my face, "Who are you?"
In that instant, I realized our mistake. We had reversed her age to before she went to university. Before she learned magic. Before she met me.
I cried and held her tight.
The next day, I told her that I was her professor for the university she would be attending in the fall and that her spell went awry, causing her to lose her memory. Luckily, she believed me, so I gave her accommodation in the dorms and asked her to meet me for special lectures.
Every day, I would teach her what she forgot, hoping that one day she would learn enough to get her memories back. Even though she was right before my eyes, I was desperate to see her again, wrinkles and all.