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?


13. them

The rest of the night was pretty low-key. I talked to a few people from other Houses as well as some of Slughorn's guests while Draco walked loyally at my side. When I finished my butterbeer, I threw it out and asked Draco if we could go. Everyone else here was a lot more social than I was and I was getting uncomfortable with the crowd.

"Okay," he agreed easily enough. He took my hand again and we struggled our way through the crowd and out the door of Slughorn's office. Once out, he seemed to hesitate before he dropped my hand. There was a moment of awkward tension as we just walked toward the Great Hall.

"I really am sorry," he murmured, breaking the quiet.

I looked up at him, puzzled. "About what?"

"About being rude," he said. It looked like it was difficult for him to admit this. "It was...uncalled for."

"Yeah," I agreed. "Why do you feel the need to be like that to them anyway?"

He frowned. "Well, you haven't been here for the past five years or thousand years for that matter. Eliza, Slytherins and Gryffindors have never gotten along. The founders of our Houses--Salazar and Godric--always had differing opinions. It's in our natures to disagree."

"Then why can't you just agree to disagree?" I argued. I suddenly remembered what Luna had wisely said so many weeks ago on the train to Hogwarts. "You know, maybe the reason Slytherins and Gryffindors don't like each other is because we're so similar!"

He looked bewildered. "What do you mean?"

"Well..." I thought for a moment before going on slowly, "Think about it. The members of our houses are both courageous and clever, but we are both prone to being cocky and thinking we're above-it-all." Draco gave me a look and I added, "Don't deny it, you know we do. Anyway, the only difference is that in the end Slytherins do what's best for our family and our friends--people we're close to. But Gryffindors will always do what's best for the world, and they'll even help a complete stranger. That's what makes us different. It's such a small difference, don't you think? Something so small can lead to so much hatred and rivalry. Unbelievable."

Draco had an uncertain expression. "I don't know. Salazar and Godric disagreed over other things, too, like Salazar only wanted purebloods in his House."

"I suppose...but the key difference is what I said."

He smiled and we made small talk as we traipsed down to the dungeons. We walked into the common room and almost everyone looked up in awe and admiration as he went down to our dorms. The Christmas party had been the talk of the school for about a week so those that went were highly admired at the moment. 

"Thanks for inviting me," said Draco sincerely. "It"

"You don't look so sure about that," I said, amused.

"I lot of things happened," he admitted, "but I was with you, so I'll consider it fun." He turned and went down the hall of the boys' rooms. "Have a good night!"

"Thanks." I went down my own hallway and turned into my dorm room. I could hear Millicent snoring gently in her bed as I undressed and hopped into my pajamas. I tried very hard not to think about Draco's words, and his hand around mine, and his arm curled around my waist. Instead, I focused on the fact that I had promised to myself I wouldn't fall in love with him no matter what. I could ruin everything and Harry could be killed.

But I still smiled as I snuggled in bed.

I was with you, so I'll consider it fun.

The man in my head smiled. "You're on the right path."


I had to get up early the next morning so I could say goodbye to the friends that were leaving Hogwarts for winter break to spend it with their families. I would probably do the same, except I didn't know how to return to my own world to be with my godparents. Truth be told, I didn't mind all that much. It sounded cold, but I didn't miss my godparents. I'd always been uncomfortable there, unable to sit still. Now I knew Hogwarts was my home, where I truly belonged. I had no desire to go back.

I dressed myself in leggings and a big sweater that I had ordered from a Muggle store a long time ago and hurried upstairs after slipping into a pair of moccasins. The Slytherin common room was crowded with students getting ready to leave, their pets rattling in their cages and their large trunks standing next to them as they visited with others.

"Draco!" I called, walking up to my pale-haired friend. "Where's your things?"

He turned and raised his eyebrows. "I'm not going home for break."

"Why not?" I asked, nonplussed. He always talked about his parents and how brilliant and wonderful they were and how his estate was huge and gorgeous so I expected him to be racing home at the first opportunity.

"Well, you haven't got anywhere to go as far as I know," he said sheepishly. "I thought I would keep you company."

"Oh."  I could feel heat rising in my cheeks. "You didn't have to do that."

He rolled his eyes. "Don't be modest. Not even Potter and his friends are staying here."

I huffed, though I was deeply touched that he thought more highly of me than staying with his family for the holidays. I found Augustus at the edge of the crowd, hugging Jessie goodbye. The short fifth year noticed me first and hugged me tightly before August could even touch me.

"You know, I bet my folks would let you stay at my house for Christmas, Elizabeth," she told me as she pulled back.

"No, it's okay," I reassured her. "Draco's staying at Hogwarts with me, so I won't be totally lonely."

She looked surprised. "Draco Malfoy? Wow...well, have fun!"  She squeezed my hand and flitted away through the crowd again.

August stepped forward, taking her place. He had a wry smile lit upon his lips and he lifted his hand to ruffle my hair playfully. "So Draco's staying at Hogwarts with you? He must really like you--"

"Oh, shut up," I said dismissively, but I couldn't help but grin at him. "See you next year, August."

"Yeah, yeah, see you around," he grinned back at me before picking up his trunk and exiting the common room.

By that time, it had mostly cleared out. Draco was nowhere to be seen, so I went out into the dungeons and headed up to the Great Hall, figuring he had gone to breakfast. I was just climbing the steps, feeling the gradual change of warmth as I left the dungeons, when I heard a couple of familiar voices. I pressed myself against a wall and peered around the corner curiously.

It was Draco and Harry. The latter had his arms folded and glared at Draco with his bright green eyes.

"What do you want, Malfoy?" spat Harry. I could see years of spite between these two and wondered if I should intervene.

"I'm not here to bother you," said Draco shortly. "I'm here to say I'm sorry."

Harry's face wiped blank, devoid of all emotion. "What?"

"I'm sorry. Someone made me realize something and I promised I wouldn't be a jerk to you and your friends anymore. I recognize now that it was rude and immature of me."

Harry was staring at Draco like he'd grown two heads. "You can't really be Malfoy."

Draco didn't smile. "I am. So if you could pass this on to Granger and Weasley and the others, I would appreciate it."  He nodded once and turned in the direction of the Great Hall.

Emotions started to register on Harry's face and he made a few steps toward Draco. "Hey, Malfoy!" When Draco turned, he continued, "I don't know if you're being legit or not, but...thanks? I guess?"

Draco smiled wryly. "See you around, Potter."

He whisked out of the hall and headed toward me. I quickly hid in a crevice in the wall as he passed, my head whirling. When he had gone, I stepped out.

"What on earth did you do to him, Elizabeth?"

I turned to look at Harry. I flushed. "Er--I honestly don't know."

"I feel like I've witnessed I miracle," he remarked. He stared at me. "So why did you take Malfoy to the party last night?"

I felt my face go red. "Well, it's not as if I could ask any boys from other Houses! And we went as friends, for your information!"

He looked doubtful. "Well, you're doing something right."  With that, he went into the Great Hall. I followed far enough behind so he wouldn't talk to me anymore and hurried over to the Slytherin table once I spotted Draco. I slid into the spot next to him and pulled a plate of pancakes over so I could pile them onto my own.

"Want to work on O.W.L. stuff after breakfast?" he asked, spearing a sausage with his fork.

"Okay," I agreed. I swirled syrup around my pancakes. "So how does Christmas work here at Hogwarts?"

"I don't know," he confessed, looking slightly embarrassed. "I've never stayed here for the holidays, so it's a new experience for me too."

The Great Hall drained out and soon almost everyone had left for the train to London. We were the only Slytherins staying, along with a small group of Gryffindors, six Hufflepuffs, and four Ravenclaws. Once we had finished breakfast, I climbed off of the bench and stretched absentmindedly.

"Race you."  There was a wild grin on Draco's face. Before I could say anything, he took off. I gasped and ran after him. I almost ran into Professor Trelawney as I bolted down the stairs and into the dungeon. And then I did slam into Draco, who was already saying the password in front of the common room.

He laughed, grabbing my arms to steady both of us so we wouldn't fall. "I beat you," he said smugly.

"You had a head start!" I accused, cheeks flushed.

"Fine, we'll do it fair next time." His eyes gleamed with mischief as he stepped into the common room. My arms tingled where he'd touched them and I suppressed a feeling of lightness as I hopped in after him. I had to get a hold of myself.

"Say, how're you doing with the Patronus?" I asked him.

He shrugged. "Not too bad, actually. I can tell it's going to be corporal soon. It just needs a push or something."

I nodded. "Me too. It's like there's something it needs. A happier memory, I guess."

We sat down and for the rest of the morning we practiced for my O.W.L.s. And that's how it went for the next two days. We would study for my exams in the morning and in the afternoon we would relax after fetching food from the kitchens. We talked about a lot of things, mostly just joking around. It was nice to wear casual clothes around the school. We could visit the library wearing jeans and a sweater and Madam Pince could only eye us distastefully as we read up on whatever we pleased.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, a house-elf appeared in the common room and told us in a squeaky voice we were invited to join Dumbledore and some of the other staff and students at a small Christmas feast the following day. After two, Draco suggested teaching me how to play Wizards Chess.

I had nearly forgotten all about that magical board game and I was excited to learn. He set up the pieces with a wave of his wand and started explaining the rules to me. I found myself focusing on his hand movements, the way his eyes lifted as he smiled, the curve of his lips as he held back one. I had to force myself several times to focus on what he was saying, not doing.

Unfortunately, he noticed my distracted state. "Why are you blushing?"

"None of your business," I mumbled. "So the knight does what?"

He grinned briefly before telling me all about the knight and how it moved in an L formation and I had to remember this about the knight because it would rescue the princess at the end of the game and probably slaughter everything in one hit and--

"Wait, what?"

He laughed at me. "I knew you weren't listening. Look, do you want to learn this or not?"

"I do!" I said firmly. "I'm just a little restless."

"Okay, change of plan," he said almost at once, standing up and dragging me to my feet. "Ever flown before?"

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