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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"I thought something might happen here."

I turned around, instinctively hiding my wand behind me as if I'd done something wrong. "Sorry?"

An old man with a long silver beard, half-moon spectacles, and twinkling blue eyes stepped toward me. He wore magnificent magenta robes and a warm smile. "I have been watching Mr. Ollivander's shop for days after he left, waiting for something to happen. Then you come along. May I ask your name?"

"Elizabeth Banner," I said quickly, unable to believe what I was seeing. "And you're Albus Dumbledore."

He chuckled. "You know of me?"

I flushed. "Well, uh, I mean--you're the greatest wizard of our age. How could I not?"

He smiled even more broadly. "You flatter me. May I see your wand, Miss Banner?"

"What?"

"Your wand. I saw it come out of Mr. Ollivander's door."

"Uh, sure." I handed it over, but kept the note. Dumbledore examined it carefully, turning it different angles and sweeping his blue gaze along it. I just watched him in fascination, because he, of all the characters, felt the most familiar to me.

"Funny," he said, flicking my wand and watching the most spill from it. "The last spell this wand performed was a Patronus. Do you have a Patronus, Miss Banner?"

"None that I know of," I answered, as confused as he was. "Uh, sir, why is that funny?"

He turned to me with a pleasant smile. "Because just last week I saw this very same Patronus outside my office. A snow leopard. Sound familiar to you?"

"No, sir."

"Here you are," he said, handing back my wand. He watched me for a few moments before asking, "You must be in school tomorrow?"

"Well..." I didn't know what to tell him. Of course I wanted to go to Hogwarts, but I knew no magic, could perform no magic, and only magical people could attend. "Can I be honest with you?" If there was one person I could trust, it was Dumbledore.

"Of course," he said brightly.

"I just...I just appeared here an hour or so ago and I don't know why."

Dumbledore stared at me. He looked to be deep in thought for a few moments before he pulled me into the alley beside Ollivander's for privacy. "Tell me more."

"I just appeared in a space beneath Diagon Alley, and there was this man... He told me I was here and said he wanted me to fix what was broken. Except I have no idea what that means, so--"

"What did this man look like?" asked Dumbledore, watching me intently.

"He was tall," I began, summoning my brief memory of him, "rather pale, and he had kind of white hair, too. I couldn't tell very well in the light. But I remember he had gray eyes, too, and he looked like he was in his twenties."

Dumbledore was deep in thought for several more moments before he shook his head. "What happened after that?"

"He started to disappear. He just sorta faded away and then I came up to Diagon Alley, got some of my gold in Gringotts and that sort of thing."

"He disappeared?" Dumbledore looked surprised. "No, he faded? How dumbfounding. I'll have to start looking this up. Where do you come from, Miss Banner?"

"Not around London," I said, shaking my head. "I live hundreds of miles away from here."

"You've never been here, yet you have a Gringotts vault." Dumbledore frowned. "Your parents, relatives?"

"My parents are dead," I said flatly. "Died before I even knew them. I live with my godparents, and they're not magical at all." I paused. "The goblin did say something about my family being pureblood because of how much gold we had. But I never knew my parents."

"I can see if the Ministry has records of them," offered Dumbledore. "As for school, I do believe Hogwarts is ready to accept its first transfer student, don't you think?"

I beamed at him. "That sounds brilliant."

"I have one last question for you, Miss Banner," he said, his eyes now piercing. "Why did you suddenly decide to trust me? I've just met you."

I bit my lip. How to answer that? "I...just thought you would be a trustworthy person, considering all I've heard about you."

He smiled. "Ah, but I know there is another reason, but you just will not tell me. Very well, another day. Come with me, please."

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