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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14. yourself.

It didn't take long to rummage through the Slytherin Quidditch team's locker-room and find a suitable broom for me. I was glad he didn't send me in to find one myself, because each broom looked exactly the same to me. But to a seasoned Quidditch player, each one was extraordinarily difficult. Draco kept muttering about Comets and Nimbuses until he finally plucked one out that he seemed to like.

"Here you go," he said, passing it off to me. "It's a Nimbus 1500. It's not as good as a 2000 or even a 1700, but it's faster than most of the ones in this bin."

We both put on thick Slytherin Quidditch robes and then we stepped out of the locker-room and onto the field. No one was outside and I supposed those that had stayed behind were enjoying hot chocolate by the fire or something. Meanwhile, the chill made me shiver as we walked through the snow. It wasn't extremely cold--it was actually a rather nice 35-degree day with the sun out in the clear blue sky--but I knew it would eventually get to me.

Draco demonstrated how to mount a broom and I followed his example. Slowly, shakily, my broom rose in the air beside his.

"Pull up to go further up into the air," he explained, "and push down to go down. If you're speeding, then leaning up and down will do the trick."

I pulled up on the handle of the broom and it smoothly started ascending and I leaned right to turn around. Draco was flying a little ways behind me. Then I accidentally leaned forward a little too quickly and the broom instantly shot forward across the field. I jerked back in an attempt to slow down, but it stopped so quickly I did a backflip in the air.

A second later, Draco was floating beside me. "You okay?"

"I'm...great, actually," I said breathlessly, grinning. "I like going fast."

I swung around and rocketed across the field again. The cold bit against my ears and cheeks, but I loved the feeling of my hair being whipped back with the wind as exhilaration filled all my senses. All I could think was why didn't I ask someone to teach me this before?

After a few rounds of the field, Draco suggested we add a Quaffle to the mix. I was bad at catching it but once I had it I could chuck it pretty easily through one of the golden hoops. What I liked most was trying to keep it from Draco. His broom was faster, so I felt like he was holding back most of the time, but I did manage to surprise him a few times with quick dives and spins.

It was dark when we headed back inside, and my hair was an absolute disaster from it being windblown. But I couldn't get rid of the exhilarated grin as I recalled flying a hundred feet above the ground. This was something I definitely wanted to do again.

We spent the rest of the evening in the library. I had an idea after seeing someone flitting through old logs of Hogwarts students. I counted out years on my fingers and estimated my parents had been at Hogwarts in the late sixties or early seventies.

In the 1970 class roster, I found one William Banner in Ravenclaw House. He was in his Sixth Year here. He had sand-colored hair that dropped into his intense blue eyes, the same exact shade as my own. Everything except his tousled blond hair was neat and orderly and even his smile was serious. I could see intelligence and a great amount of pride radiating from the picture as he smiled slightly at me, straightening his tie as he did so. I scanned the rest of Ravenclaw, looking for a Victoria, but found none. I went through Slytherin next, then Hufflepuff. Was it possible my mother had been a year or so younger or older than my father?

And then I found her in Gryffindor, a Sixth Year. She had long, gorgeous black hair and bright-hued eyes that seemed to constantly hover between blue and green. She had the face of someone many guys probably fell for and she had slightly chocolate-colored skin, like she was part Indian or something. This only added to her beauty, though. Her full name was Victoria Paxon. I touched her smiling photograph and instantly a line of text appeared, floating, above it.

Victoria Paxon (Year Six)

Birthday: August 29th

Status: Half-Blood

Born to Margaret Benson and Igor Paxon...

And it listed off all the things that had happened to my mother from the day she was born to her first day at Hogwarts. When I flipped back to my dad, it did the same.

William Banner (Year Six)

Birthday: January 17th

Status: Pureblood

And on it went. Draco found me as I finished reading about my father, how he came from a long line of purebloods while my mother had been the daughter of a muggle and a witch. I suppose this would make me as close to a pureblood as I could get, even though my grandfather had been a muggle.

"You found your parents."  It wasn't a question. He sat down next to me. "Your mother was beautiful."

I smiled. "Yeah, she was. I think I only got her hair." I showed him a lock of my black hair to compare with Victoria Paxon's.

"I think you got her looks, too," Draco disagreed, and he had a funny glint in his eyes as he said it.

I glanced down at my mother's portrait again, frowning. "But I've got light skin and blue eyes and..."

"That's not what I meant," he scoffed. He grabbed my wrist. "Now, c'mon, Madam Pince is glaring at us and it's getting to be that time..."

We hurried back to the common room before she could snap at us. Before we said goodnight and went to bed, I noticed Draco had pulled up his sleeve a bit and the end of his tattoo was just barely visible. I shivered slightly as I went down to the girl's dorm. Sometimes I forgot that Draco was a Death Eater in disguise. I wondered if I could continue this...whatever this was if he still sided with the Death Eaters.

--

Time will change nothing, the mysterious man told me. You had time in a very different world, Eliza. In this world, you must change things yourself.

Change what myself? I didn't understand what he meant. But as he started to fade and I sensed myself beginning to wake up, I thought it was strange he called me Eliza. Only one person in the world called me Eliza and that was Draco...

--

"It's already six, Banner, hurry up!" called Draco from the common room.

Christmas morning had come and passed. I had woken up to a few presents, including a pretty bracelet from Draco that he informed me had a protection charm on it, a large box full of various sweets from Augustus, and a pamphlet on how to woo wizards from Jessie. I tossed the last one under my bed in disgust, thinking I'd have to talk to Jessie when she got back.

Now it was time for Christmas dinner and it appeared we were already late.

"I was just coming out!" I said, rushing up the stairs and darting to the exit. "Now don't make me wait for you!" I teased as I pushed out of the common room and into the dungeons.

Draco caught up with me and playfully shoved me out of the way so he could climb the steps to the main floor of the castle. I collided with the wall but raced after him and pushed him so hard he nearly fell.

"You're going to split my head open!" he accused, but he was clearly fighting a smile.

"Then move faster!"

We stopped quarreling when a few Hufflepuffs came from their corridor staring at us. I sheepishly stepped away from Draco and tried to look a little more dignified as I walked into the Great Hall for dinner. 

It smelled amazing as the two of us sat down beside the Ravenclaws and across from the Gryffindors. The professors that had stayed greeted us and Dumbledore himself was there to cheerfully smile at us. His blue eyes lingered on Draco, as if to assess him, and I knew that he knew the predicament Draco was in.

"Merry Christmas," he said heartily. "Please do explore the basket in the middle full of the table. They can be interesting additions to this little party."

Then the dinner appeared. Whole turkeys sat upon the golden dishes, along with mashed potatoes, delicious-looking gravy, several fillets of things like fish and steak, and various breads. I found I had more of an appetite for fish at the moment, so I grabbed one of those and every kind of bread I could find.

"Hungry?" Draco remarked, grinning.

"Starved," I replied as I cut through part of my salmon with my fork.

Once we finished the main part of the meal, students started reaching into the basket and pulling out small, thin tubes. They each grabbed an end and pulled and it would explode with a loud noise and a burst of confetti. One Hufflepuff ended up with a rubber snake, and a Gryffindor got an enchanted whistle that sang Christmas tunes when you blew it.

Draco and I tried one and a large stuffed owl fell into Draco's arms when it exploded. It opened its fluffy wings and made off with the rubber snake, spiraling above before exploding in a flurry of white feathers.

Dessert appeared and everyone wolfed down tarts, cakes, pies, and various puddings before we all sat back. I felt fat for the first time in years. Luckily, I had donned the biggest, warmest cardigan I could find this morning so it covered the little bump that had formed over the past hour.

When the last of the exploding tubes had disappeared from the basket, Dumbledore rose and bid us goodnight. He and the other professors walked down the halls, apparently going off to bed early. It was only seven-thirty, so Draco and I took our time going back to the dungeons. In fact, we climbed the stairs with the Gryffindors for a little bit until the left us behind at their common room entrance. We were heading back downstairs and were nearing the dungeons when a strange light started glinting in the corridor.

"Hey, look!" Draco pointed above us. I stared as little lights appeared on the ceiling, only lighting up as we walked through them, and then disappearing when we left them behind.

"I love magic," I said, smiling in wonder.

I continued to walk with my head tilted up at the lights. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Draco doing the same. The moment was peaceful; we didn't have to fill the silence with words. We were comfortable.

I suddenly felt cool fingers brush mine. I looked sharply at Draco and he looked back at me steadily. We had both stopped walking and I looked briefly down at his fingers touching mine, almost hesitantly, like he was asking permission. In response, I wrapped my hand around his.

"You make me feel...different," he murmured. He gave my hand a gentle squeeze.

I couldn't help but smile as my heartbeat picked up. "Is that a good thing?"

"Yeah," he replied, raising his other hand to brush my cheek lightly, "I think so."  He grinned at me, possibly the most carefree and gentle grin I'd ever seen him wear.

And now his eyes asked permission. Were his eyes really gray? In this light, they looked more like a pale blue. I laughed quietly, leaning up until we were less than an inch apart.

I had kissed boys before. A few of them. They were nothing much, nothing to really think or daydream about or whisper about to your best friends. They were hardly memorable.

But right here, with Draco Malfoy, I suddenly wished he were my first kiss. It was perfect, with the lights glinting gently around us, the closeness between us, the warmth, the way it all seemed so natural. It wasn't forced, like the others had been.

And the thing that really got me was that it felt so right. I knew immediately I was supposed to be here, despite the fact I was never supposed to exist in this magical world. It sounded like a horrible, cheesy line from a sappy romance, but it was like I was meant to be with this boy. I had never believed in fate before.

When I took a small step back, I knew what I had to do.

Fix what was broken.

I was holding Draco's left hand. Before he could react, I pulled his arm toward me and tore up the sleeve of his sweater. There, the Dark Mark swirled and pulsed menacingly, ink-black against his white skin.

Draco made to shove it back down, but I stopped him.

You must change things yourself.

I put my hand on the Mark, covering it, and looked up at him. His expression was pained, the happiness gone, replaced by crippling sadness.

"This doesn't have to be you," I told him.

He didn't say anything. He just pulled me closer and embraced me tightly while he wept.

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