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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20. xx. run

I heard the laughing and stomping of the Death Eaters before I saw them. I suddenly felt very queasy; was I doing the right thing? These Death Eaters could kill anyone, not just Dumbledore. It was planned that they only killed Dumbledore, just like it said in the book, but who was to say they wouldn't try to kill anyone who got in their way? I shivered as the stomping and shouting came closer and pressed myself against the railing. 

In that very moment, there was a noise of commotion in the Astronomy Tower and I pricked my ears, hearing faint gasping over the wind. Then I heard voices.

"Harry, please...get Professor Snape..."

"Why Snape?" asked Harry desperately. 

"Please...get Professor Snape..."

A hand laid on my shoulder and I almost screamed. But when I whipped around and looked up, Draco stood above me. He swallowed, looking especially pale now. "They're right behind me. The Death Eaters, they're coming. They're just fighting some of the students and the Order, I think--"

"Draco," I whispered. "Now. We do this now."

Meanwhile, Harry had apparently been moved by Dumbledore's current state and I heard him running toward the door Draco and I stood behind. Before he could reach it, however, Draco whipped it open and shouted, "Expelliarmus!" and the Headmaster's wand spun in an arc out of his hand and clattered to the floor. I entered at Draco's side, my own wand out and pointing, and his expression became cool as he faced Dumbledore. The act was on.

Harry was nowhere to be seen and I didn't quite recall the details of the book so I wasn't sure where Harry had disappeared to. Maybe he had his Invisibility Cloak and he was watching us?

"Good evening, Draco," said Dumbledore calmly, his blue eyes glinting in the moonlight. He looked extremely pale, even more so than Draco, and his skin was sallow and his eyes sunken. He looked very ill. He was going to die a long, painful death if Snape didn't come to end his misery soon. 

Which was why Draco and I were here to bide our time before he showed up. Part one of the plan was to keep a believable conversation going, putting off Dumbledore's death until Snape could come. 

Draco lifted his chin. "There are Death Eaters in your school tonight."

Dumbledore looked at him mildly. "You found a way to let them in, have you?"

"Y-yes!" Draco stuttered in reply, showing some of his nervousness. "They met some of your guards below. I came on ahead because--" His lip trembled for a moment and I wanted to hold his hand, but that might destroy the act. Harry could be watching right now. "--I've got a job to do."

"Then you must get on and do it, my dear boy," said Dumbledore, sounding unfrazzled as he always has been. 

Draco remained in uncertain and unwilling silence for a minute, and he bit his lip as he simply stared at the Headmaster. I suddenly realized I was seeing the Draco that was stressed, anxious, and full of desperation and sadness. The side he had tried hiding from me all this time was at last revealing itself fully. I had seen a bit of it in the Room of Requirement, but now here he was, unable to hide. He was terrified.

"How did you do it?" asked Dumbledore at last. I flinched when I heard a loud bang from below, and I noticed Draco twitch as well. 

He gulped, taking deep breaths, then began answering his question. "I had to mend the broken Vanishing Cabinet that no one's used for years."

"Aaah," Dumbledore sighed, lifting his head. "That was clever. There is a twin, I take it?"

"In Borgin and Burkes," Draco said, his voice sounding stronger now. I knew he could talk about facts better than discussing Dumbledore's inevitable death. "The two create a sort of passage between them. I heard about it last year, when Montague got stuck in the one here. He said he could sometimes hear the school and other times hear the shop and that's when I realized it was possible for someone to travel between them. When Montague got out, it was broken, but I was able to fix it and recreate the passage." 

"Very clever," said Dumbledore again, and Draco looked a little proud for a moment. "Right under my nose, even."

"Yeah," Draco agreed, his lips twitching. The two of them had never discussed this before as far as I knew, but Draco seemed to draw courage from the Headmaster's words. 

"But there were times, weren't there, when you thought the Vanishing Cabinet trick wouldn't work," Dumbledore went on, and Draco's expression looked sullen and guilty again. "And then you resorted to feeble attempts such as sending me a cursed necklace."  He slid a little down the wall, the strength in his legs apparently fading.

People were running up the stairs now and I twisted around as the door banged open. Four Death Eaters surged into the room, jostling me and Draco. I stumbled, finding myself slightly behind him as the Death Eaters looked around, appraising the scene.

"Well, well," said one of them, a dumpy-looking male with an ugly grin, "Dumbledore is alone, weak, unarmed...! Well done, Draco, well done."

"Good evening, Amycus," said Dumbledore crisply. "Ah, and I see you've brought your sister Alecto...what a pleasure..."

The woman beside him bared her teeth in a grin. She did indeed look a lot like the man who had spoken. "Do it, Draco, and we can get out of here," she snarled.

Nobody had taken particular notice of me yet. That was until a tall, ragged-looking man emerged from behind me. I shivered involuntarily; I could smell dirt, sweat, and blood coming from him. He looked at me with interest, but seemed a little more intent on hurrying Draco up. "Do it, boy!" he snapped.

Draco was now trembling. We didn't expect Snape to be held up so long. The pressure was really doing a number on him, and he twisted his wand in his hand. It was still pointed at Dumbledore's heart, but I knew he couldn't do the curse even if he wanted to. 

And then, suddenly, the door burst open and there was Snape. His eyes flickered between me and Draco, then the other four Death Eaters before finally falling on Dumbledore, who had sunk to the floor in his weakness. His face twisted in revulsion and I grimaced; the man was a good actor.

The tall man, Fenrir Greyback as I was positive he had to be, snarled at Snape, "The boy seems to be unable, Snape, do something--!"

Dumbledore said nothing, only raising his chin and mouthing the word, "Please."

Snape pushed aside Draco, making me steady him, and raised his wand. "Avada Kedavra."

The jet of green light hit Dumbledore in the chest, and he was blasted backward, suspended in the air for just a moment before he fell, lifeless, into the night.

...

In my arms, Draco seemed to sag in relief. I swallowed, my mouth dry, trying to suspend the feeling of grief and despair. This couldn't end any other way, I knew, but it was still painful to see my mentor go. He had helped me, Draco, and Harry so much just this year... And now I had just seen him murdered.

Fenrir turned now and faced me and Draco with a wolfish grin. "Ah, boy, you must introduce me to this girl here. Who is she, exactly? And why is she up here?"

Draco paled dramatically and fear crossed his face. His arm came out, pushing me behind him. "My girlfriend Elizabeth. She's on our side. She's coming with us."

Fenrir sneered. "I'm not sure you have the authority to declare that, boy, especially since he just chickened out..."

I backed toward the wall as Fenrir came closer, curling his lip and baring his sharp-looking teeth. Before I came to the wall, however, I bumped into something very solid and I turned around to look. I watched as a cloak slipped off of a black-haired boy and fell in a heap at his feet. I was horrified to recognize Harry, presently petrified, his green eyes glowering at me murderously. 

"Out of here, quickly!" Snape snapped, but the other Death Eaters came closer as they realized who I had just revealed.

"Hey--it's Potter! Harry Potter!" shrieked the woman, Alecto.

Shit, I thought desperately. Shit, shit, shit.

"I reckon we can bring her along if she found Potter for us!" laughed Fenrir cruelly. 

I turned to look at Snape, who had paused with his dark eyes wide. This was bad, he knew that too. This wasn't supposed to happen. Then his expression cleared and he nodded once. "Petrify him and seize him."

One of the Death Eaters froze him again before the brother and sister took each of his arms and dragged him to his feet. The Death Eaters followed Snape out the door as they surged down the stairs. Draco and I followed a little behind, and he shot me a panicked look as we went. This wasn't in the plan! 

But we had to run now. Just run, run, run.

And we did. We raced through the corridors, Fenrir knocking anyone aside who tried to come at us while the other male Death Eater cursed anyone who came from the other side. I noticed Ginny Weasley in one of the corridors, staring in horror at our sickening parade, and her eyes rested on me in accusation. She didn't move though. I was grateful for that. I recognized other students that stared as we passed. They knew not to come out--only those experienced fighters from the Order tried to interfere with us--and they only watched, glaring. I saw Augustus, who shook his head gravely, not meeting my eyes. I saw a pair of Hufflepuff girls who looked like they might cry. I saw Neville Longbottom, who looked like he might lunge at us, but at the last second thought better of it. 

When we came out into open air at last, the Death Eaters were running hard and fast. It was only a matter of time until the Ministry wizards showed up, and then we'd all have a cell in Azkaban. But when we made it outside the school borders, I could feel the absence of the spells that restricted us from Apparating. 

"Now, Eliza, we have to leave now," Draco hissed in my ear.

"But Harry!" I shot back. Fenrir twitched and looked around at us. 

Without a moment's hesitation, Draco seized my hand and then we were twisting and turning, squeezing into a too-small hole in space and suffocating before we finally landed on the ground harshly, coughing and gasping. We were on our feet as soon as we had the breath to do so. Then we were launching ourselves across the prettily-landscaped lawn of the Malfoy manor, up the steps, and into the house. 

It was a relief that Voldemort hadn't quite yet relocated to the Malfoy Manor yet, because Draco started screaming for his mother as soon as he entered. I leaned heavily on Draco, breathing hard, my vision turning black at the edges. Just as I saw who must be Narcissa Malfoy enter the hallway, my vision went completely black and I slumped forward into darkness.

--

Author's Note: I cannot even begin to explain how sorry I am that this took so incredibly, impossibly long to update. After finishing the 19th chapter, I thought I'd take a small break from writing. A couple days later, I was all set and ready to begin writing the last chapter of this fanfiction! I completed about half of it, saved it, and decided to come back to it later. But a couple days after that, Movellas just stopped working on me. Maybe Movellas decided it doesn't support Windows XP with Firefox now or something, but I haven't been able to use it with my laptop for a very long time. I tried to contact Movellas staff to no avail, so I recently just gave up and I started re-writing this chapter. It's long but I felt you guys deserved it because you all waited so damn long for it. 

For those who stuck with me through the insanely-long hiatus: Many thanks. You deserve mentioning. I will mention your names in the first chapter of the sequel story which is entitled... *DRUMROLL*

---world changer---

Sounds cool, right? I'm not sure when I'll start writing it. I'm thinking when I get my new laptop, which could be anywhere from a week to a few weeks. It's before I go to college (classes start the 25th, whooo!) so expect the sequel to be submitted then! Hopefully I"ll get at least a few days with my new laptop before I move into my dorm, so I can write up the first chapter to 'world changer'. 

Thanks again, this has been a blast to write! It's also my first fanfiction that I have finished in a veryyyyyyy long time! Also, rejoice! I have another, separate fanfiction in the works entitled 'That Which Is Unknown' which is Harry Potter, but in the New Generation (starring James Sirius Potter!!!!!). Look forward to it!

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