the girl out of time

Elizabeth Banner, sixteen years of age, has been very much in love with the Harry Potter books for as long as she can remember. A visit with a mysterious man makes her appear in the Harry Potter universe with one seemingly simple task: fix what was broken. Upon arriving at Hogwarts, however, she finds herself swept up in the comings-and-goings of the life of a student with magic, which includes seeing snow leopards around the school, trying to fake it till she makes it in Potions, and trying not to set things on fire in her Alchemy class.

With the danger of Lord Voldemort looming on the horizon and the pressure of learning enough magic to face off against Death Eaters, Elizabeth is finding it difficult to fix things as the mysterious man instructed her to do. After all, how is a person supposed to fix things in a world she was never meant to exist in?

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7. but

Victoria and William's daughter....thought they disappeared...Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, yes...

At the sound of commotion, I opened my eyes and stared at the stone ceiling of my dormitory. I shared my dorm with four other girls: Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode, and Hestia and Flora Carrow, twin sisters. I had never heard of the latter two, but I supposed there were Slytherins that were never mentioned in the books.

At my bedside, my school clothes and my new Slytherin tie was laid out. I noticed my robes were now edged with green, and the Slytherin House emblem was on the chest of it. No doubt the work of the house-elves of Hogwarts.

I shut my eyes momentarily again, trying to grasp the Sorting Hat's musings from last night. It had known my parents. My parents had been here, they had been to Hogwarts. How was that possible? They had died long ago, in a plane crash, I had been told. And then my godparents had taken over... Maybe this was truly a dream and now my imagination was making things up.

"No," I whispered to myself. I had already ruled out the possibility this was all in my head. It was too real, too creative and imaginative even for me.

Which could only mean one thing: I had been born into this world, some way or another.

"Elizabeth, are you getting up?"  One of the twins--Flora or Hestia, I couldn't tell yet--called up to me softly.

"Yeah, I was just thinking," I said quickly, opening my eyes again and getting out of bed. I dressed in my uniform and headed up to the common room, where everyone seemed to be putting together bags for the day.

"Hey, Elizabeth, catch!"

I instinctively held out my hand and caught a bag of sweets. I looked up to see a seventh year smiling at me in a friendly manner.

"We weren't properly introduced last night," he said, approaching me. "I'm Augustus Hemmingway, seventh year."  He held out his hand and I shook it appreciatively. "It's a long way from breakfast to lunch sometimes, so I'd suggest snacking."

"Thanks," I said, grinning at him.

Jessie came up from her dorm and joined us. "Good morning! Hi, August," she added to him. To me, she said, "Come on, I'll show you where to go into the common room."

I thanked Augustus again for the sweets, which he seemed to be passing out to everybody in celebration of the new school year, and followed Jessie out of the common room whilst shouldering my bag. Once she showed me the entrance was marked my a twisted torch directly above it, we went up to breakfast and ate our fill.

About halfway through my third bowl of cereal, a sallow-looking man with greasy black hair swept across the Slytherin table, passing out small sheets of paper and stopping every once in a while to converse with a student. He was undoubtedly Professor Snape. I had expected to be in Gryffindor, so I was a little nervous to have Snape for my Head of House instead of McGonagall. When he at last came to me, he treated me no different from the other Slytherins.

"Elizabeth Banner," he said, holding out the paper. I took it and examined it, seeing it was my schedule. "All of your core classes are currently filled in. Are there any electives you are interested in taking? Otherwise the Headmaster informed me it was perfectly fine for you to fill your electives with free periods instead."

"I'll just have one elective," I said, remembering my conversation with Hermione the day before. "Alchemy."

Snape raised his eyebrows slightly. "That is a difficult class for your level, and even for those that have been going to this school for all previous years, Banner. Are you sure?"

"I'm sure," I said firmly.

Snape tapped his wand to my schedule, making a few Alchemy slots open up among the free periods. "Very well. Work hard." He was about to move away when he seemed to recall something and looked back at me. "Your tutor will be meeting with you after dinner in the library. They will be in the same House and year as you, so have no worries about contact issues."

"Okay."  I nodded, looking back down at my schedule for Mondays as Snape whipped away. I was curious to see who my tutor was going to be. I had a hunch, but I almost hoped I was wrong about it.

"What do you have first?" asked Jessie curiously, peering over my shoulder.

"Herbology," I said, a tiny bit disappointed. Herbology wasn't really on my list of exciting classes to attend at Hogwarts. Plants just were not my thing.

"That's down in the greenhouses," Jessie told me. "Since you're a sixth year, you'll be in one of the last ones."

"Okay." I picked up my bag, checking inside to make sure I had my stash of quills and ink bottles and extra parchment along with my textbook. I started heading down to the greenhouses and one of the twins from my dorm caught up with me.

"This is going to sound rude," I began, already flushing, "but are you Hestia or Flora?"

Her face split into a grin. "Hestia. I woke you up this morning. Flora has a birthmark on her jaw, if that helps. You'll get it eventually, we're different in personality, too."

We walked into the greenhouse filling with students from the sixth year. We shared this class with the Ravenclaws, it seemed, who eyed us darkly. I tried not to let it bother me, the fact that they would automatically despise me just because of the House I'd been Sorted into.

Herbology turned out to be much more exciting than I ever would have thought. Professor Sprout introduced us to the Venomous Tentacula, which was a large, dull violet plant with constantly-moving vines that enjoyed wrapping themselves around Sprout's fingers every once in a while. It had very noticeable, lethal-looking teeth that Sprout cheerfully informed us were poisonous and, if we were to be bitten, we would surely die.

"Lovely," I said dryly, eying the plant more warily now.

She assigned us each to one, and told us to clip off leaves without getting bitten. We all yanked on our protective gloves--which luckily went up to our elbows--and proceeded to do our task. It was easier said than done, however, and I got bitten a multitude of times on the arm. I was just glad they didn't sink through. As I turned to set leaves down on the table, the plant's vines kept trying to seize me to bring me closer so it could bite me. We were allowed to swear violently when this happened, and Sprout had to stun a few of them more than once to avoid her students getting killed.

"So what do you think of Herbology?" asked Hestia as we left the greenhouses an hour later.

I blew air out of my mouth. "Uh, intense."

She laughed. "Yeah, it's been my favorite class since I was a second year."

I had barely noticed Malfoy in the greenhouse, since I was so focused on my Venomous Tentacula, so it startled me when he kept pace with me and Hestia a few feet to the left of me. Crabbe and Goyle were on either side of him. I glanced back to see a dark-skinned boy, probably Blaise Zabini, trailing several feet behind us. He didn't look like he wanted to join our group.

"Defense Against the Dark Arts next," I observed, checking my schedule. "Think we have time to drop off our Herbology things in the common room."

Hestia nodded. "Snape is teaching Defense now, and he won't care if we're a minute late."

So we put away our extra things in the common room and hurried to Snape's new classroom. We did not end up being late and sat ourselves down in the back with the other Slytherins that had received an O.W.L. in Defense Against the Dark Arts.

"Put away your books," ordered Professor Snape, as he walked into the classroom from his office. "I want your full and undivided attention."

There was a shuffle as those who had taken out their textbooks put them away under their desks. I noticed Hermione up front doing so, and then spotted Ron and Harry not far from them. I wondered with a twinge of worry if they would still want to be friends with me now that I was a Slytherin. They wouldn't be the type to judge, right?

Snape stalked around the room, glaring at the Gryffindors while mostly ignoring us Slytherins. He eyed each of them with a slight smile, as if planning to humiliate them. I had never particularly liked Snape in the books, not until the seventh. It still hadn't excused his outrageously horrible behavior toward anyone who wasn't a Slytherin. If I was a Gryffindor, I would be glaring right back as Harry was doing right now. But, unfortunately, it would be strange if I were to speak out against him since I was from his House.

"The Dark Arts," he began, voice silky and cool, "are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible."

I suddenly realized I hadn't performed any magic yet. I hadn't even practiced. It struck me as dumb that I hadn't been interested until now about practicing spells, and I started to get nervous when I remembered we would be doing nonverbal spells today. It was hard enough to do a lot of the spells we had learned, and even more difficult to not say them aloud. I hoped Snape would give me a break.

"Now," he went on, right on cue, "you are, I believe, complete novices in the use of nonverbal spells. What is the advantage of a nonverbal spell?"

As expected, Hermione's hand shot straight into the air. I also tentatively raised my hand, knowing the answer just from reading the books. Snape ignored Hermione entirely and called on me. "Miss Banner?"

"The person you're fighting against doesn't know what kind of magic you're about to use against them," I answered, my cheeks burning scarlet as I was held under Snape's black gaze. "It gives you a split-second advantage that may just help you defeat them."

"Very good, five points for Slytherin," said Snape smoothly, turning his back as Hestia quietly high-fived me. Even Malfoy leaned forward to catch my eye and grin at me. Though I suspected it was mostly because I had prevented Hermione from answering the question. Which was also good, because I'd just stopped Snape from humiliating her as he would have surely done.

"Yes, those who progress to using magic without shouting incantations gain an element of surprise in their spell-casting. Not all wizards can do this, of course; it is a question of concentration and mind power which some lack."  His eyes rested briefly on Harry before flicking back up to the rest of the class. "Divide into pairs. One partner will attempt to jinx the other without speaking. The other will attempt to repel the jinx in equal silence. Carry on."

Hestia ended up pairing off with her sister, so I was left awkwardly alone to look around for other Slytherins. I had just noticed Hermione standing around in equal awkwardness behind left by herself as Harry and Ron peered up, when someone tapped me on the shoulder.

"C'mon, back here."  It was Draco Malfoy. He had left Blaise and Pansy to go against each other perhaps out of some desire to help me. It was probably true he was the cleverest out of the bunch, but I was surprised he was willing to partner up with someone unfamiliar like me. I could be weird, for all he knew.

We found a place at the end of the line, where Malfoy stood beside me. "Get out your wand," he ordered. "Try something like Stupefy first, that's a stunning spell and a little easier to do."

"I should let you know that I haven't really..."  I trailed off, a bit nervous to explain my situation. Malfoy despised anything to do with muggles, which meant he would no doubt think lowly of me once he learned I'd been raised by muggles.

"I know. Professor Dumbledore told me."  I looked up into his eyes, and they were lit with understanding. Oh. He knew and didn't care. Or he knew and was hiding the fact that he disliked me. Either way, I felt slightly more comfortable with the situation and inwardly thanked Dumbledore for letting him know.

I didn't think about why he had, for I was soon distracted in my attempts to cast the spell. Malfoy stood beside me for a good ten minutes while I aimed at the wall. I was deathly scared I wouldn't be able to conjure up magic at all. What if my parents really were muggles and the Sorting Hat was just misinformed? Or if my parents had been wizards and I was a squib? What would I do then?

However, my worries were soon quelled when I passionately hissed, "Stupefy!" for the seventh time, and the wall exploded in a blast of red light. Malfoy nodded, muttering an incantation to repair the wall. Professor Snape, off reprimanding Dean Thomas, pretended not to notice and we continued.

"Now try it nonverbally," encouraged Malfoy, stepping up to face me with his wand up.

I narrowed my eyes, saying the spell in my head. Nothing more than a couple sparks came out of my wand. I continued thinking it over and over again, but to no avail. A few people down, Hermione had already managed to repel a jinx from Neville, but Snape didn't seem to care.

"Do you know the defensive spell?" asked Malfoy after my wand still produced nothing but sparks.  I nodded and he said, "Mind if I give it a go? You can always whisper it."

And so Malfoy tried, his pale brows furrowed as he concentrated. Bigger sparks sprayed from his wand, but after five minutes even he couldn't get it.

"Pathetic, Weasley. Here--let me show you--"

I looked up, lowering my wand as Snape raised his and pointed it directly at Harry. Instantly, Harry shouted, "Protego!"  His Shield Charm was so powerful that Snape was knocked off his feet and fell against a desk.

Scowling and glaring at the black-haired boy with undisguised hatred, he snarled, "Do you remember me telling your were are practicing nonverbal spells, Potter?"

"Yes," replied Harry stiffly.

"Yes, sir."

"There's no need to call me 'sir,' Professor."

A lot of people gasped but I had to clap my hand on my mouth to prevent myself from laughing out loud. That had been even better in person than on paper. Harry received detention and after almost ten minutes more of me and Malfoy trying to cast a nonverbal spell, we all packed up and left when the bell rang.

I thanked Malfoy for his help and rushed off to catch up with Harry and the others. When I kept pace with Hermione, all three of them turned to give me a strange look.

"That was great, Harry!" I exclaimed. "I thought it would look bad if I started laughing in the middle of class, but that was gold."

Harry grinned appreciatively and all their faces lightened considerably when they realized my views had not changed since I'd spoken to them yesterday on the train. It hurt me just a little bit that they were wary at first that I had changed at all, or that they perhaps viewed me differently as a Slytherin.

But they allowed me in on their conversation as we headed off to break, and I thought maybe this all wasn't so bad after all.

 

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