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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4. time

"You have robes and a wand, I see. But Hogwarts requires books, parchment, quills, and other general supplies along with possibly an animal to accompany you or a racing broom and the like. How much money do you have?"

Dumbledore and I walked through Diagon Alley, many giving him stares as he went past. I supposed people were not used to seeing the great wizard walking normally along. They'd be even more surprised to learn he was helping a sixteen-year-old muggle enroll in Hogwarts.

Or am I really a muggle at all? I wondered. If this wand was really mine, then that meant I was magical. But that couldn't be. I wasn't supposed to exist in this world. My head hurt just thinking about it all.

"I have a lot," I said, not having counted it all out. "I grabbed more galleons than sickles and knuts."

"I will help you buy general supplies and then you can decide for yourself whether you want an animal and a broom," he said.

It took us a little over an hour and a half to buy all the general things I needed. I was happy to buy several impressive, long-lasting eagle-feather quills and stacks of parchment to accompany it. I was the most fascinated with the books, spellbound to see the pictures inside moving. Throughout the whole trip, I kept praying this was actually real because it was a dream come true for me.

The last thing I picked out was an owl. I'd never been a fan of cats or rats, and bats really creeped me out, so an owl it was. Besides, it would be really useful for delivering mail and everything. I bought a spectacled owl with great ocher eyes that flicked everywhere at once. I was told it was male and not commonly seen in these part, which made him more expensive, but I bought him anyway. He was unique.

Dumbledore brought me to the Leaky Cauldron, where he bought me dinner and we sat down to discuss my future at Hogwarts.

"You are sixteen years old, correct?" he verified.

I nodded.

"If you had enrolled in Hogwarts when you were eleven, you would be in your sixth year right now, which is one year before graduating. Now I will ask this of you: would you rather take the courses you would have taken as a younger student, with younger students, or would you rather take courses with those in your year and have remedial lessons with professors and qualified students?"

"Um...the latter," I replied. I really didn't want to sit in classes with eleven-year-olds. Being with fifteen-year-olds would be bad enough.

"There are not really required courses at Hogwarts," continued Dumbledore, "other than your core classes: Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Herbology, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, and History of Magic. If you so choose, you can also take Flying lessons. You will have a few other electives to fill, but I would not suggest taking more than a couple, as you will be busy catching up with your year."

"Okay," I said, nodding slowly. It would be a lot of hard work, but I already knew a lot of the spells. It just took learning how to use them properly.

"I believe I will have you take remedial lessons every night for a month, then every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday the following months. It can be changed to only a couple days a week should you feel you are ready."

"What about the O.W.L.s?" I asked suddenly.

Dumbledore gave me a funny look at first, then answered, "Ah, yes, you will have to take those. I think I will have you choose to take them in the middle of the year or the end of the year with the other Fifth Years."

"Okay," I said again.

Dumbledore waved his wand and conjured up a parchment along with a quill. "I will just ask that you sign this to complete your enrollment."  I did and he turned it around to sign it himself. With another flick of his wand, it disappeared. "Now, Miss Banner, may I ask how you know of the wizarding world if your muggle godparents raised you and your parents are deceased?"

I bit my lip. Crap, the gaping hole in my explanation. "Er...I knew a wizard once. We were great friends, and he told me about it all. I think he might have known I was a witch, but he never mentioned it."

He nodded slowly.  "Very well."

I sighed inwardly when he accepted my lousy excuse. Now I had to invent a best friend at Hogwarts.

"Here is your train ticket," said Dumbledore, setting it in front of me. "You will go to King's Cross station tomorrow morning and the platform should be there and the train leaves at eleven a.m. sharp. I've rented a room for you just above the Leaky Cauldron. You'll be safe here for the night."

The way he said it suggested there were dangers out there. I tilted my head. "What's there to be scared of?"

"Oh, dear, your friend never told you of Lord Voldemort?"

Ohh... That hadn't even occurred to me. How many times have I read the Harry Potter series? I'd forgotten all about the Dark Lord right off the bat. "Yes, sir, he did. He came back to power?"

Dumbledore nodded gravely. "Today is an off-day, since I have to prepare to receive the students of Hogwarts tomorrow. You're lucky you showed up here today, Miss Banner."

He must be really busy with Voldemort running around. From what I understood, he was gathering supporters and everything.

"Well, then," murmured Dumbledore. "I must be off. I'll help you bring everything up to your room and then I have to leave."

He levitated my things up the stairs and to a room on the second floor. He looked down at me with a smile and a faint twinkle in his blue eyes before wishing me good luck for tomorrow and a good night's rest. He vanished with a loud crack!

I fed my new owl before simply collapsing on the bed. I wasn't sure how I was going to fall asleep, since I was so excited for tomorrow, but I was gone before my  head hit the pillow.

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