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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15. xv. renewal

After New Year's Day, students started flowing back into Hogwarts and by the following day, everyone was there and classes were on again. First thing that morning, however, I was placed in an empty classroom overlooked by a single professor that would switch off with another every hour. I was taking my O.W.L.s. They were difficult, despite all the studying I'd done for them. History of Magic went dreadfully; it was the only subject Draco and I had barely touched on. It was also the only one that was entirely written. The others had a written part and a hands-on part in which a Ministry witch overlooked my performance.

For Transfiguration, I had to change a turtle into a teacup, which I did successfully, though the pattern still looked suspiciously close to the animal's shell. I was surprised at how well Defense Against the Dark Arts went, and Charms went alright too. In the Herbology practical, I accidentally burned one of the plants which I undoubtedly got docked heavily on. Potions was as easy as breathing for me and even the Ministry witch looked very impressed with how quickly and confidently I worked.

Last of all, at night, I did my Astronomy practical. I slept better that night than I had for a while since all the stress and anxiety that had built up from studying for these exams had vanished.

The next day, however, Jessie instantly attacked me before I headed up to breakfast.

"You and Draco spent Christmas together," she started, her eyebrows raised expectantly. "How did it go?"

I thought for a moment. "Pretty well. We had a good time."

"He looks at you differently," she noted.

"Jess, it's been like a day, you're just making things up--"

"Well, I know he does!" she persisted. "Now, tell me--did you kiss him?"

I blushed furiously. "That's none of your business!"

"Yes, it is!"  She gasped. "Merlin's Beard, you actually did! Are you going out with him?"

"Let's not talk about this," I pleaded. Before she could interrogate me more, I slipped out of her reach and joined the other Slytherins flowing out of the common room.

Draco and I hadn't talked about what had happened the night of Christmas Day. We didn't talk about the kiss, either, or the hand-holding, or any of that. It wasn't that we tried to ignore it or pretend it didn't happen because of course it did and of course we liked each other. Draco just wasn't ready to talk about it yet. 'It' meaning the fact I knew he was a Death Eater. I knew it was hard for him to admit, let alone talk openly about it. I was waiting patiently for him to come to me. I didn't particularly want to have that conversation, even though I knew it was necessary.

On top of that to worry about, I also had to be concerned with where things were going with Harry and company. I wondered if anything had changed at all, if there was something that even I, having read all their adventures, didn't know about. I realized I had to start involving myself in the bigger scheme of things in order to change this story for the better. Sure, I wasn't meant to exist in this world but I was definitely meant to change it.

That being said, I knew Harry would have to get Slughorn's memories in order for he and Dumbledore to know fully what Horcruxes were. I wouldn't be able to tell them--they would need physical proof. And I had already made an early change in the course of the novel a few months ago, in my first Potions lesson. Instead of Harry getting the Felix Felicis he would need for Slughorn's memories, I had received them. Truth be told, I didn't need them. I didn't need luck. But Harry needed all the luck he could get.

It was Saturday morning, the day of the first Apparition lesson we had signed up for last week. Once I was up, I slipped the bottle of Felix Felicis into my pocket. Then I went up to the common room to see Draco talking quietly with Crabbe and Goyle in the corner. He looked up when I came into view and brushed aside his former cronies to approach me.

"We need to talk," he said in a hushed voice, and I instantly knew this was about the Death Eater affair.

"Well, we have an Apparition lesson right now," I said hesitantly.

"Then afterward," he said hastily. He glanced back at Crabbe and Goyle, waving his hand for them to disperse, then returned his attention to me. "Things are a bit...complicated. I'll tell you later."

"Should I be worrying?" I asked, already anxious.

He frowned a little. "Er...maybe a little," he admitted.

Shoot. I'd never be able to focus on anything for any period of time with that hanging over my head. Draco and I headed up to the Great Hall, where the area had been cleared of the four tables, leaving a huge expanse available for practicing Apparating. As we filed in with the other Sixth Years of the school, I noticed Harry, Ron, and Hermione with the other Gryffindors at the other side of the Hall.

I grabbed Draco's robe sleeve. "Come on, let's go stand by Harry and the others."

"Why?"  He let me pull him along, but looked reluctant as he did. I guessed he and Harry wouldn't exactly be best friends for a while, even though Draco had apologized to him before break. But I thought it would be a good idea to get them used to each other. Besides, I needed to chat with them.

"Hi, Elizabeth," greeted Hermione. Her expression fell a little when she noticed Draco by my side. "...And Malfoy."

Ron glared at him while Harry gave him a curt nod. His green eyes moved to me, filled with the same questions he'd had after Draco had first apologized to him. Why is here? What did you do to him?

Before I could say anything, however, the Ministry wizard spoke up and we all focused our attention to the front of the room.

"Good morning," he said. "My name is Wilkie Twycross and I shall be your Ministry Apparition instructor for the next twelve weeks. I hope to prepare you for your Apparition Tests in this time."  He went on to explain the Apparating enchantment had been lifted from Hogwarts for the hour they would be learning, and then told everyone to find a spot where they had five feet of clear space in front of them.

There was a great jostling as everyone moved to get some space. This took longer than expected and the Heads of Houses had to go through the crowd and break up arguments and situate people so they had plenty of room. When the room finally quieted, Twycross waved his wand and old-fashioned hoops appeared on the floor in front of every student.

"The important things to remember when Apparating are the three D's!" announced Twycross. "Destination, Determination, Deliberation!

"Step one: Fix your mind firmly upon the desired destination. In this case, the interior of your hoop. Kindly concentrate upon that destination now."

I stared at the inside of the hoop, trying very hard to focus all my attention onto it. But this was difficult work, as I was still worrying about what Draco had said earlier and what our talk might result in later.

"Step two: Focus your determination to occupy the visualized space! Let your yearning to enter it flood from your mind to every particle of your body!"

What I really wanted with every particle of my body was to end this Apparition lesson and get on with talking to Draco. Whatever he had to say was clearly important to him. I didn't know if he wanted to talk about why he was a Death Eater or what he had to do, but I was itching to know the truth.

"Step three, and only when I give the command, turn on the spot, feeling your way into nothingness, moving with deliberation! On my command, now...one--"

I froze, my mind going blank. He wanted us to Apparate now?

"--two--"

I tried to focus again, but to no avail; fresh anxiety flooded through me, clouding my thoughts again.

"--three!"

I turned on the spot and nothing happened. There was a great commotion as other students did the same and nearly fell over as they did. There was lots of laughing, a ton of complaining, and a general disappointment in the atmosphere. No one had succeeded in Apparating.

Twycross did not look surprised in the least and simply told everyone to readjust our hoops and try again. This time, I was able to concentrate a little better on my hoop, but lost focus just as I was turning on the spot. There was a sickening crack and a white hot pain in my right hand and then I opened my eyes. I was standing a couple feet away from the hoop, and half my index finger of my right hand was gone. I saw the bone glistening and blood started flowing seconds later before black spots appeared before my vision.

Someone steadied me just as my knees started to shake. Moments later, the foggy image of Snape appeared before me and he tapped my finger lightly with his wand. Bits of skin and bone started converging together on the one spot and less than a minute later, my finger was completely reformed. Snape turned away to continue observing the the room and Twycross was telling the frantic crowd calmly that I'd just Splinched my finger--meaning I'd left behind a random body part.

The black spots vanished after a few more seconds and my eyes focused first on Draco, who looked concerned with his hands still lingering on my shoulders. Then I looked back down on my finger. The only sign that my finger had ever been cut in half was a thin, shiny, white scar running across the middle.

"Are you okay?" asked Draco.

I looked up, forcing my attention away from the scar. He still looked worried. "I'm fine," I assured him shakily. I was afraid of blood more than I would like to admit. It was a silly fear, and I knew that, but it had never failed to make me feel faintish. It would undoubtedly get me in trouble one day.

"You look really pale," he observed, as we went back to our former positions.

"It's nothing."  I shook my head.

The hour went on. One other student--Susan Bones from Hufflepuff--got Splinched, only she lost an entire leg instead of a finger. She was soon put right but looked absolutely terrified. When the hours was up, I was incredibly relieved.

Harry, however, was already walking away with Ron and Hermione at his side. I hurried over to them and caught Harry's arm before he could go further.

"Can I talk to you?" I asked. He opened his mouth to say something, but I beat him to it. "Alone?"

He glanced at his friends warily, then nodded. We moved off down the hall and I led him into an empty classroom, checking the window furtively before saying anything.

"What I'm about to say will sound completely ridiculous," I began, "but it's important that you trust me."

Harry just looked at me, waiting for me to go on.

"I know about Horcruxes. I know you're trying to get Slughorn's memory of Voldemort asking about Horcruxes so you can learn more about them. I know you haven't gotten it yet, that you just need a bit of luck."  I took out the bottle of Felix Felicis with a flourish and held it out to him.

Harry's green eyes settled on it and he looked up at me suspiciously without touching it. "How do you know that? Nobody should know other than Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, and I."

"Trust me," I insisted. "I just know things. Don't ask how. Harry, I know how your story began and I know how it ends. There are some things that need to be different and that's why I'm here. To change things."

"Wh-what? I don't understand how..."  Harry shook his head and was giving me something between a glare and a frustrated scowl. "Can you please be anymore vague?"

"I'm sorry," I apologized quickly, "I just can't be entirely truthfully, Harry. Just please, please trust me."

He eyed the bottle of Felix Felicis again. "How do I know that's not a poison? You are an...exceptional potioneer."

"Why would I want to poison you?"

"Well, you're in Slytherin and you're best friends with Malfoy--"

"Oh, for heaven's sake!" I exclaimed. "You and everyone here needs to stop discriminating against Slytherins! The way you treat us borders on racism! Why are you so surprised that Slytherins churn out more Death Eaters than any other House? Maybe it's because the other Houses hated them and booed them and called them evil all their seven years at Hogwarts and when someone came along and told them they weren't worthless and bad and would have the opportunity to be wanted and powerful, they took them up on the offer. It doesn't sound so bad, having a new family formed with people and by people who went through similar experiences."

Harry stared at me, stunned into silence. I let go of a long breath I hadn't known I'd been holding and pushed the small bottle into Harry's hand.

"Take it. Get Slughorn's memory. Find out about Horcruxes."

His hand closed around the vial at last. When he glanced up at me again, his green eyes were still  narrowed slightly. "I'll do it if you take it with me. We'll get the memory together."

I paused, a little crushed he still didn't trust me, but nodded anyway.

"Fine. Together."

--

Author's Note: Aaaaaand, Part 2 of this fanfiction has officially started with this chapter. Part 1 was all about Elizabeth forming a bond with Draco that would be strong enough to change him and thus change the course of the story. Part 2 is all about what Elizabeth will do with the knowledge that she has the ability to change this story. Happy reading! I know I'll be happy writing!

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