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Lost and Found by Anony_Mouse

Format: Novel
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 13,666
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: Drama, General, Young Adult
Characters: Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, McGonagall, Snape, Arthur, Molly, Ginny, OC
Pairings: Arthur/Molly, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Other Pairing

First Published: 01/13/2007
Last Chapter: 02/12/2007
Last Updated: 08/24/2011

Summary:
Beautiful banner by PrincessPotter.


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Currently being edited in order to be more DH compliant. Will be reposted! Twelve and a half years ago, Harry Potter died and so did the Potter name. No one suspected they'd be hearing anything new about Harry Potter ever again-until a young, insecure orphan girl by the name of Liza James sets foot in Hogwarts for the first time.


Chapter 1: Alone in the World
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A/N: I got the idea for this fic yesterday, so I’m really excited about it. I’m having serious writer’s block ending the 2nd chapter of “Daughter of Darkness”, so I hope this will occupy you until then. I’m not sure how long it will be and exactly where it’s going, but sometimes, it’s fun to write without completely knowing. I apologize for the editing errors in advance-I just finished writing this, so there probably are a few! I also know next-to nothing about giving birth, so forgive me for that as well.


Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to JKR-so give her a thumb’s up if you like my story!


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Beautiful chapter image by PrincessPotter and beta-ing job by the team of K (aka Courtney and Kirsten)! You guys helped so much! *huggles to death*
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It wasn’t that unusual for the healers at St. Mungo’s to help women give birth. It wasn’t St. Mungo’s main focus, but witches often preferred to have their children there rather than at home or a muggle hospital.


Janie Smith had only helped a few witches give birth in her stay at St. Mungo’s, but it was a small number mostly because she hadn’t been working at St. Mungo’s for that long. She was one of the newer healers, which could be both awkward and fascinating, getting to learn a whole bunch of new things, but never getting to help any of the interesting patients. It was boring getting the simple jobs-she had become a healer in the first place because she believed she was good at healing others. She knew that she was almost as good as the healers who had been there for longer, so why couldn’t they challenge her and give her more interesting jobs, at least just once? Other healers, who had only come a little before her had interesting jobs, so why not she?


Perhaps it was because she was a newcomer to London. She hadn’t gone to Hogwarts like most of them had, and people often looked down on those who hadn’t gone to Hogwarts, which was in their mind the best wizarding school out there. Never mind that hers was also good-it didn’t erase the fact that she hadn’t gone to Hogwarts.


At least today she was going to help another witch give birth. It wasn’t that interesting, but joyful all the same. It was so exciting to watch a new life come into the world.


She was surprised when she saw the very pregnant girl who turned out to be her new patient. Although she had known about the rate of teen pregnancies, she hadn’t been expecting it. After all, these were things that happened in the Muggle World and not the Wizarding World, where people could simply do a spell for protection and where teenagers were at a boarding school for most of the time and thus had less freedom than ordinary teenagers.


She stopped being judgmental when she saw the expression on the girl’s face.


It wasn’t the fact that she was gasping in pain that got her attention-she had helped aide births before-but the depth of emotion. The girl, who looked around seventeen, looked scared and nervous and alone all at once. It was a different expression from the other witches who came to give birth. They at least had their husbands at their sides, but this girl looked completely alone. She had no one else to be afraid with her, no one to squeeze her hand…just looking at the expression on her face gave Janie the willies.


It was peculiar, really. Although she was seventeen and probably hadn’t even graduated from Hogwarts or wherever she went just yet, she looked older and more mature than most girls her age. It wasn’t just that she was pregnant, but it looked as though something else had happened to her as well-the mature look on her face had to have been caused by something else, but what?


She was seventeen, but she didn’t look like a girl, yet she didn’t look like a woman either. She was somewhere in-between: a girl-woman, who had been struggling with being not quite one or the other for a long time now. It broke Janie’s heart just to look at her. She was only a few years older than the girl and couldn’t imagine being in her place.


“It’s all right. I’ll have a potion sent up to you immediately. You won’t have to be in pain for much longer now,” she reassured the girl, smiling, but was surprised by the expression on the girl’s face.


“No,” the girl gasped, as another contraction hit her, “My-my child’s going to be raised in the Muggle World, I’ll have to deal with this without-without m-magic…”


Before Janie could argue, she noticed a woman with a tight dark bun in the room. She wondered if the woman had just come, as it seemed odd that she hadn’t noticed her before.


The woman’s tone was brisk and stern and final sounding. “The child is going to be sent to a muggle orphanage. If the child’s going to truly live the life of a muggle, it’ll need to be brought into the world like one.”


“But-but-” Janie began, feeling intimidated for arguing, “just because it’s going to live in the muggle orphanage doesn’t mean it can’t know magic now…and what are you going to do when it reaches eleven, won’t it go to Hogwarts…”


She didn’t get a chance to continue. The girl’s face was white now, and although Janie still disagreed with the idea tremendously, this didn’t erase the fact that she needed to help this girl now.


As the birth continued, Janie wondered about the circumstances concerning girl. The woman and she didn’t appear to be related and Janie couldn’t help wondering about the girl’s family. Did they know she was here, giving birth? Did they even know their daughter was pregnant? What had happened to her that made her appear so much older than she looked? Who was the father? The stern woman was kind to the girl, even with her no-nonsense attitude, but Janie still couldn’t help wondering. The last thing she wanted was to be like this girl when it was her turn giving birth; she wanted her family and her husband surrounding her for support.


The girl had been oddly quiet throughout the whole birth. Although there were the usual screams and annoyances, she had definitely been the quietest out of all the women Janie had assisted. Looking at the girl’s face once again, Janie could tell that the girl’s thoughts were more on her child than the birth itself. It was almost if, in spite of the pain, she didn’t want these last moments before a new life came into the world to end.


Finally, after what seemed like a decade, it was time for the final push. The sad look on the girl’s face as she closed her eyes nearly broke Janie’s heart.


“It’s a girl,” Janie announced, looking the baby over, but the girl only nodded, barely looking at her new daughter. She had a blank, hard expression on her face. Although it looked harsh for someone who had just brought a new life into the world, Janie understood. After all, it wasn’t as though the girl would be there to watch her daughter’s first birthday, her first step, or even her first smile. For all she knew, she would never see her daughter again.


There was a silent moment as the three looked at the new life in front of them. They all had different expressions on their faces. Janie cradled the baby, softly. She wished she could choose a new fate for her to follow.


She was a small baby, considering, although Janie was pretty sure she was on-time. She looked beautiful all ready, but there was something about her size that made the situation seem even sadder than it already was. She was so small that it was helpless, a baby who was being handed over to an orphanage with no say in the matter, not even knowing her fate.


When the girl spoke, though, she was more interested in business.


“What are we going to print her records on?” she asked, avoiding looking at her daughter. “The muggle orphanage will think something’s up if we put them on the usual parchment, so isn’t there anything we can do to disguise them?”


Janie looked at the girl and woman’s desperate faces. “Well, it’s not usually done, but I’m sure we could do something about that. If you don't mind me asking again, what are you going to do if she’s accepted into Hogwarts?” She couldn’t resist bringing this subject up again. Just holding her somehow reassured her that the baby was indeed magical.


“They’ll just think she’s a muggleborn, plain and simple,” the woman spoke up, and the girl nodded. “There have been several muggleborns accepted into Hogwarts before; it will be strange, but it’s not the first time something of this sort has happened.” She narrowed her eyes. “Even-even he was at a muggle orphanage before he got accepted.”


Janie shivered at the mention of the Dark Lord. She didn’t notice the angry expression on the girl’s face.


“I want to write something,” the girl spoke up suddenly, surprising them both. “I know it’s not necessary or usually done, but I-I have to explain some things. I want them to understand why I did it; that it was the only thing that could possibly be done.”


“Parchment or mugglestock?” Janie said, but the girl merely shook her head. “I don’t care. Either. I suppose mugglestock would be better, but it doesn’t really matter. I just want it done.”


There wasn’t mugglestock in the room, so Janie put the baby down for a minute and handed a freshly-dipped quill and parchment to the girl. The baby looked even more alone than ever, and Janie couldn’t help wondering if anyone would hold her at the orphanage. Would anyone tell her that they loved her? Would the other children be nice to her, since being a witch made her so different? What if she was never adopted? Though she didn’t regret helping, this certainly was a contrast to the joyful, happy births she had witnessed before.



Janie got the records. She didn’t know why, but she thought it best that, although it wasn’t her ordinary job, she recorded them herself.


“What’s her name?” she asked, and for some reason this question made her nervous. The girl looked up from her letter and looked at the woman. They both looked at Janie.


“Liza,” murmured the girl finally, glancing at the newly-dubbed Liza as she spoke. “Liza-Liza Minerva James.”


As Janie continued to record the records, she still couldn’t help thinking about Liza. She was so innocent and naïve to what was happening to her. She didn’t know that she was about to be sent to an orphanage that she might live in for at least eleven years of her life. She didn’t know that she was a witch or even that she had been given birth to in a hospital in the Wizarding World. She hadn’t even been held by her mother, whose face was pinched in such a way that it looked like she was trying to cover up her need to cry. So she looked around her, unaware of it all, having no idea how harsh a world she had born into.


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Chapter 2: The Orphan and the Purse
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A/N: So…I hope you enjoyed the first chapter! I’m going to begin the fifth chapter tomorrow, so expect quick updates (unless the validators are busy), for a while-I’ve already got two chapters besides these two written!


Disclaimer: Liza belongs to me! Doesn’t that count for something? ;-)


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Another stupendous chapter image by PrincessPotter! Love it! Thanks also to the fantabulous beta-ing team of K-you guys are awesome! ;-)
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Huddled underneath her blankets lay an eleven year-old girl taking advantage of her rest. She didn’t have very much time to herself at the orphanage, and since she shared a room with five other girls, she rarely got a decent night’s sleep, with them constantly talking, tossing and turning, and sometimes even snoring.


Today was no different.


Liza groaned as she slowly opened her eyes. This time, she had been awakened by the chattering of Anna and Serena, two girls in her dormitory who were possibly the most talkative girls in the whole orphanage. The two were best friends and about the same age as Liza. Although they had been there nearly as long as she had, they were not friends. As a matter of fact, Liza wasn’t really “friends” with anyone. She preferred friends she made up herself, inside her head, to real people.


“Liza’s up,” Anna said, giggling. “You’ve been asleep for a long time. You’ll have to hurry if you want breakfast.”


“I don’t care,” Liza muttered to herself, in a tone barely audible. “I’d rather sleep than eat breakfast, anyhow.”


They both began to giggle again. Liza scowled.


“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” Serena reminded her, as Anna nodded. “You sure you want to miss it?”


Liza nodded. Fortunately, Serena and Anna began to talk about something else, ignoring her.


She didn’t really mind being ignored. It was the way she liked it. A lot of people in her shoes would have hated being ignored, but she didn’t mind it. It wasn’t as though she had never made friends at the orphanage, but eventually they got adopted, leaving Liza behind. Finally, after this had happened once or twice, she gave up. It was nothing against the other girls at the orphanage, but what was the point of making friends, if only to be hurt later? Girls like Anna and Serena were so lucky that they had never been separated.


Liza highly doubted she would ever be adopted. She had been living at the London Girls’ Home ever since she had been born and supposed she would continue living there until the orphanage wouldn’t be allowed to serve as her legal guardian any longer. It was very rare that children above toddler age got adopted. There were a few cases where children got adopted at five or six or even eight, but Liza didn’t know of anyone who had gotten adopted at eleven.


It was quite depressing that she hadn’t been adopted. She often wondered what life inside a family would be like, but she doubted she would ever get to experience it. The only way she could was inside her imagination and by reading stories, and that would have to satisfy her.


Sometimes, she couldn’t help getting jealous of all the fictional characters she read about who did have families. Though it was fascinating reading about something she would never experience, it didn’t take away the twinge of envy she felt whenever she read those books. She much preferred dramas of children’s parents dying or books about people who were in far worse situations than she was to happy books about families. Reading about situations worse than hers made her feel a little better about her own.


Sighing, Liza managed to wait until Anna and Serena finally left the room before she got out of bed. She wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of knowing that they had driven her out. She wouldn’t.


Life at the Girls’ Home could get rather repetitive at times. They were all expected to do a certain number of chores per week and always had to make their beds. They also had to get at least an hour of time outside so they could get fresh air and exercise. Summer was perhaps the most repetitive time of all, since they didn’t have school to get them away from the orphanage. They did get to spend a few weeks on holiday in the country, but it was the time surrounding that was so boring. Besides, what was the fun of the country, when there was no one to enjoy her days with?


Liza usually spent her days alone at the local library, wasting time. It was within walking distance to the orphanage, so she could get there easily. Besides, even if the library hadn’t been an option, anything was better than being at the orphanage. She was sick of being there, thinking about how her only family didn’t even care about her. How could she stop thinking about it when she lived in the very place that reminded her?


She glanced at her reflection as she got dressed. All the girls in her dorm shared a bathroom, which could be both dirty and disgusting at times since there were so many of them, but Liza was used to it. She had never experienced anything else.


There were times when Liza hated the way she looked. Her hair would have been all right, if it weren’t for the fact that it never lay flat, no matter how much time she spent brushing it. Her eyes would have been all right too, if it weren’t for the thin, black glasses she was forced to wear over them. And then there was her height. She was smaller than most girls her age and thinner too. It wasn’t that she was starved, but she never had a very big appetite. This was partly the way she was and partly because she didn’t want to give the cooks the satisfaction of knowing that she liked their food.


Although Liza knew she shouldn’t, sometimes she couldn’t help blaming the orphanage and workers there for all of her troubles. She felt she needed to blame someone, and the people at the orphanage were the only people she knew. Who else could she blame? She didn’t know who her biological parents were, who truly deserved her blame, so who else was there but her orphanage?


She supposed there were all the couples out there who had been looking for a baby to adopt and hadn’t chosen her. Liza couldn’t help feeling a surge of bitterness whenever she thought of this. Although deep down inside, she knew there was probably no good reason why they hadn’t chosen her but bad luck, she was a little afraid it had to do with the strange things that seemed to happen whenever she got angry or scared.


She couldn’t remember a certain time when the things had started happening; the various quirks surrounding her anger or fear had always been a part of her. There was that time when her teacher called on her in front of the whole class to answer a question she didn’t know the answer to, and a light-bulb fell down. Everyone was so focused on making sure the glass was picked up and that it hadn’t hurt anybody that Liza never had to answer the question. Then there was the time when Anna and Serena were giggling about her behind her back, and Serena’s hair turned blue for nearly a week. There had been several other peculiar instances like this as well, but Liza had no clue when they had started or why they were happening. She wanted to think it was just coincidence, but hair turning blue out of thin air seemed a little too weird to be pure coincidence.


Sighing, Liza pulled on a skirt and an old tee-shirt of hers. Though she wasn’t as materially focused as several other girls she knew, she sometimes wished that her clothes weren’t all for from goodwill or hand-me-downs from the older girls at the orphanage. She wished she had clothes that matched her style.


She had planned to go to the library right away, skipping both breakfast and lunch, but was stopped when she was spotted by seven-year-old Polly. Polly was a sweet girl, even if she didn’t seem to understand that Liza was often annoyed by the way she constantly hung on her when she just wanted to be alone.


Polly’s eyes lit up when she saw Liza. “Liza! You’re up! Guess what?”


“What?” Liza murmured, her eyes still on the ground, though she was pretty sure she knew what “what” was. Polly had been left at the orphanage after a car crash had killed her parents and her only aunt and uncle had refused to take her in when she was two-years-old, but she didn’t know any of the circumstances surrounding her being put in the orphanage. Liza wouldn’t have known herself if she hadn’t overheard a conversation about Polly’s tragic life a few years ago. This had sent an unwanted surge of envy through her. Although she hated being pitied, she couldn’t see how Polly’s life was any more depressing than hers.


“It’s my birthday!” exclaimed Polly. “Next week! I’m turning eight.”


“Really,” responded Liza, a little dully, but Polly didn’t seem to notice as she continued jabbering and following Liza around excitedly. Liza’s own birthday had been in March, but although there had been a small celebration with cake for her at dinner, birthday celebrations at the orphanage were always modest.


“Where are you going?” Polly asked as Liza reached the door. To Liza’s disappointment, after she explained that she had been planning to go to the library, Polly’s eyes lit up. “I have an overdue book there! I’ll be back, I just have to get it.”


Liza sighed heavily. She was sighing more than usual these days.


She considered leaving so she wouldn’t have to put up with Polly, but she really didn’t want to do that. In spite of how bitter and even ornery she could be at times, Liza disliked hurting people’s feelings. She really did like Polly, in spite of how annoying she could be. She was like a little sister and would have been okay to have around if Liza hadn’t preferred being alone.


After a few minutes, Polly came running towards her, with a book in her hands. On the way to the library, she jabbered excitedly about the wonderful balloons and cake and presents she’d be having in only a week, and of course her birthday wish (“Though I can’t tell you what, it’s a secret!”). Liza couldn’t remember ever having gotten as excited about her birthday, even when she had been as young as Polly was. When she was seven, going on eight, she had known that she hadn’t been wanted. That had been around the time her only friends started getting adopted and Liza had vowed never to open herself up to friendships again, once and for all.


Finally, they reached the library, which was a good excuse for Liza to remind Polly not to talk so others could read in silence. That didn’t stop Polly from insisting that Liza stay with her as she returned her book and looked for a new one, but at least this made it easier for Liza to ignore her.


She didn’t know why Polly liked her, not really. Perhaps it was because they slept in the same dormitory and all the other girls had paired up, leaving Polly forced to pair up with Liza. Or maybe it was because Liza really did have a comforting presence about her, no matter how much of a loner she was. She was inclined to think it wasn’t the latter.


After Polly was done, she followed Liza to the Young Adult section. Liza gazed lovingly at the rows of books, so many of which she had read. This, not the orphanage serving as a reminder of how unloved she felt, was truly her home.


Liza had been coming to the library ever since she could remember. At first, she had been escorted here with the other girls her age, coming for story time, but Liza was the only one who was really interested in learning to read by herself. Finally, she had snuck off as the librarian began to read the other children a story and opened a book for the first time. Although she had been overwhelmed by all the words at first, she had determinedly decided to break the code. The librarian, who had caught on to her goal, had helped a little too, but it was mostly Liza who had taught herself how to read. She was still one of the best readers in her class, and though others were catching up, Liza couldn’t help remembering, with pride, that she had certainly been one of the first.


She had both sad and happy memories of the library. She had come here, scared and confused, after Serena’s hair turned blue, and she had come here when she turned eleven. There were very few happy moments in Liza’s short life, but, no matter how hard her day had been, the library was always a calm, safe place.


“What book are you going to get?” Polly asked, her voice still a little above a whisper, but Liza didn’t even answer at first. She merely looked around her one last time, observing the peace.
 

“I’m not sure yet,” she whispered, glad to be home. She was even smiling. “Why don’t you help me?”


As Polly helped her pick out a book, Liza began to relax. She was so tense most of the time that this was a welcome change, though she only felt like this once a day, at most. Maybe the real reason Polly liked her was because they shared a joy in reading.


Unfortunately, her peace would not last for long.


Liza hadn’t noticed that Polly and she were not the only girls from the orphanage at the library on that particular day. There was another gang of girls her age there that most unfortunately included Anna and Serena-and worse.


Polly wanted her to read Pollyanna because it had her name in it, but Liza was insisting that there were better books out there. “It has my name!” Polly insisted again, and that was when Liza remembered how soon Polly’s birthday was. She was just about to cave in when she overheard a hint of a conversation.


“-I can’t believe Polly likes her,” a voice was saying, and Liza looked through the book shelves to reveal Anna, Serena, and their friends. The speaker was Miranda Baker, the most insensitive girl at the orphanage, and definitely one of the girls Liza disliked the most.


She felt her blood turning cold.


“I know!” said another voice, this time belonging to Julia, one of Miranda’s most faithful followers. “She’s so bitter and angry most of the time-it’s no wonder she was never adopted-”


Polly was staring at her now, concerned, but Liza hardly noticed. She wasn’t feeling anything but anger, anger at the comment Julia had made. It was one thing to say things like that in the orphanage-that she could stand-but here, in the library, her only home…they were going to take that away from her too?


I won’t get upset, she tried to tell herself as the other girls came up with more stories of “Liza the strange”. I won’t get upset, that only makes it worse and who knows what will happen if I do? In spite of herself, she was getting angrier with each thought. I won’t get upset, I won’t, I won’t…


Crack!


This time it was Julia’s purse. All of the girls in the snooty, popular group carried purses around, and Liza watched through the bookshelf as Julia’s purse fell to the ground. It had lots of make-up and lipstick and other items in it, and several had opened, staining the carpet. Although this was nowhere as bad as the time Serena’s hair had turned blue and was not completely out of the ordinary, Liza had a sick feeling that she was responsible. She watched, paralyzed, as Julia’s friends began to help her pack up the purse, hoping none of them would see her watching and blame her. Polly poked her arm, nervously, and, as though hit by an invisible bolt of lightning, Liza knew she needed to get out of there, so she did the first thing that came to her mind.


She ran.


Perhaps it was because her anger had caused her to quicken her pace, perhaps it seemed faster because she wasn’t thinking, just running, or maybe it was even because she was angry, and it was another strange thing happening because of that. Whatever the reason was, Liza found herself at the orphanage in record time. She could hear Polly calling to her a few blocks back, but she didn’t even turn around. She simply rushed to her dormitory (which, to her relief, was empty), and lay down on her bed. She needed some time alone right now.


She could hear Polly knocking on the door, telling her that she shouldn’t listen to what the girls had said; she liked her anyway. But Liza desperately needed some time away from the world. She was so angry, she couldn’t even begin to describe it. She had been used to the comments from the other girls, talking about her at the orphanage or school, but it was a completely different matter for them to talk about her at the library…her own special place, her only home…


She covered her ears with her pillow to block out Polly’s pleadings. She was different. She couldn’t ignore how different she was, and it wasn’t just because she was so unwanted or even because she had turned Serena’s hair blue; there was something unsettlingly different about her and always had been.


She didn’t cry. She refused to. Perhaps she couldn’t ignore how angry those comments had made her, but Liza James was not a crier. She was too strong for that. She was completely and utterly alone. So she lay underneath her pillow as Polly finally gave up and left her by herself, pretending that the fantasy worlds she had read about were true, and that she was a different person than who she really was.

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Chapter 3: The Reluctant Favor
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A/N: Thanks for everything you guys have done for me so far!!! I’m going to be honest and tell you that this chapter is actually really boring. I had to put it in here because it tells you where the Wizarding World stands right now, but it’s really just a filler. The next ones will be more interesting-I promise!


Disclaimer: McGonagall and Hagrid belong to the great JKR, whom I thank for allowing me to borrow her wonderful characters.


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Chapter image by the fantabulous PrincessPotter. Thanks also to AloneintheDark and Courtney and Kirsten, who looked over this chapter for me-you all rock!
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Much had changed at Hogwarts in the past eleven years. Although McGonagall was still Headmistress at Hogwarts, and there were many of the same professors, several other things had changed. Perhaps it had been because the war was officially over, or perhaps it had just been because of time, but McGonagall had found it hard to keep up with all the changes.


Today, she was writing the letters to the new students at Hogwarts. It was a warm, sunny, July day, but she was concentrating harder on finishing the letters than enjoying it. McGonagall found it difficult to enjoy anything when there was still work at hand.


“You have been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” McGonagall told her quill for what seemed like the thousandth time that day. She watched as it scribbled down the words and couldn’t help sighing. She wished she could invent a spell that would keep the quill writing without her having to dictate things…


“Yer al’right here?” came a familiar voice, and McGonagall turned to see Rubeus Hagrid, the giant gamekeeper at Hogwarts, who also taught Care of Magical Creature’s lessons. Although she didn’t always show it, in truth, McGonagall had always been very fond of Hagrid.


She motioned to her quill pointedly, and Hagrid looked at the list. “Yer still doing that?” he asked her, before glancing at the list again. “There’s a mighty lo’ o’ muggleborns this year, aren’t there?”


McGonagall nodded grimly. There certainly were a lot of muggleborns coming to Hogwarts this year, and she wasn’t sure how she was going to have time to pay visits to all of them. It was custom for McGonagall to go to the muggleborns to explain about Hogwarts after their acceptance letters were sent out. They usually had a lot of questions, but it was going to be difficult to make the trips for all of them.


She looked at Hagrid for a moment. If there had been different circumstances, she would have asked him to do her a favor and pay a visit to one of them, but she doubted he would agree without sobering up first. Hagrid had been the one to break Harry Potter the news that he was a wizard, so many years ago, and she was afraid asking Hagrid to pay a visit to one of the muggleborns would raise too many painful memories.


Twelve years ago, in the June of 1998, Harry Potter had died. The circumstances surrounding his death were only known to a few members of the Wizarding World, including McGonagall herself. Everyone else knew that he had defeated Voldemort, but hadn’t had the strength to survive a Death Eater’s attack.


Since Hagrid and Harry had been so close during Harry’s years at Hogwarts, Hagrid hadn’t taken Harry’s death well at all. It was enough that Dumbledore had died, but Harry had to die too. For weeks, he wouldn’t speak to anyone, staying alone in his hut. When McGonagall visited him, she couldn’t ignore the piles of empty liquor bottles. Fang had been huddled close to his master, as Hagrid slept, apparently unable to face the world.


Although the topic of Harry was pretty much avoided whenever she was in Hagrid’s presence, McGonagall hated thinking about the few times other people had slipped and mentioned Harry in front of Hagrid. His eyes had filled with tears, and McGonagall had guessed that a night of drinking lay ahead for him.


It wasn’t that McGonagall didn’t miss Harry, too. She did, in truth, very much, and for more reasons than anyone knew or suspected. She always had enjoyed being in Harry’s presence. Although he was not her best student, he really had been a kind, ordinary boy. The only thing that set him apart was that he was faced with saving the Wizarding World. Harry was also such a refreshing change from other students she had taught. Where others were proud and bragged about their wealth or fame, Harry had done nothing of the sort, befriending such poor families as the Weasley’s and treating everyone at Hogwarts, with the exception of the Slytherins or other people who ticked him off in some way, equally. Thinking about this, it was hard for the name “Draco Malfoy” not to come to mind. McGonagall had to wipe away a tear, just thinking about Harry’s short and tragic life.


Although she was uncertain how she was going to get all of this done, McGonagall knew she would have to find a way by herself. The last thing she wanted was to get Hagrid involved.


“I’ll be all right,” she said sternly, but a little uncertainly. Hagrid said nothing, merely gazed into the lake.


“It’s a nice day,” said Hagrid, absentmindedly looking into the distance. “Not a lot o’ days like this in summer-when it’s nice out and not too hot.“


“Hagrid,” said McGonagall carefully, hoping she wouldn’t hurt his feelings, “I really do need to get these letters done and if you keep on talking, the quill will write down your words, not mine…”


“O’ course, I won’t be keepin’ you then,” Hagrid answered, but he didn’t go away. He merely glanced at the scenery surrounding them, but to his credit, didn’t say another word.


Although she knew her task was to finish writing the letters so she could send them out as soon as possible, McGonagall couldn’t help thinking about the many ways the Wizarding World had changed in these past eleven years. She hadn’t kept track of all of the changes, but there were a few she couldn’t miss.


For one, there were the remaining Death Eaters, particularly Bellatrix Lestrange, who were determined to keep up You-Know-Who’s work, even after his death. Several aurors had tried to stop them, but had only succeeded in killing a few. Ron Weasley was one of these aurors. He had been deeply shattered by his best friend’s death, but he had managed to continue Harry’s fight for a good, safe world.


Although it was sad thinking of all the lives the Dark Lord’s remaining Death Eaters had taken, McGonagall had to admit that no one could ever completely get rid of evil. Dumbledore had taught her that.


She thought about all the good changes that had happened in the last eleven years: the new students and professors. Although she had had a taste of it when she was merely Deputy Headmistress, being Headmistress was more work than she ever could have imagined. She still wasn’t sure how Dumbledore had made it look so easy by making an amusing comment, even when the going got the toughest. At least she had Dumbledore’s portrait, for even the tiniest bit of guidance.


Even though she didn’t want to face the problem right now, McGonagall still wasn’t sure how she was going to visit all of the muggleborns. She had to admit that having someone help her was the only solution, and Hagrid was the only one possible. Not sure of how to convince Hagrid, she used the only thing she could think of to get Hagrid to give in: bribery.


“Hagrid,” she said, both powerfully and suddenly, causing the half-giant to look at her in surprise, “I know you-well-probably want to stray away from doing this, but I really need some help.” Feeling Hagrid’s big black beetle eyes on her, she quickly continued. “I’d give you time off for it, of course-time off and whatever beast you want to include in your next lessons, you can have…”


“An’ yeh want me ter tell one of those muggleborns about our world, don’ you?” interrupted Hagrid, but he didn’t sound surprised or even angry; he was merely stating a fact. Turning to look at Hagrid in surprise, McGonagall couldn’t help holding her breath, afraid of what Hagrid would say or do next. To her surprise, he nodded, thinking it over.


“Maybe I should,” said Hagrid thoughtfully, but even his logic didn’t stop the tears from forming in his black eyes. “After all, I doubt Harry would’ve wanted my mourning ter stop me from doin’ other things. It’s high time I learned that.”


McGonagall patted Hagrid on the shoulder awkwardly as he began to sob uncontrollably. It had been ages since he’d last mentioned Harry’s name. Sometimes she wished she could let loose like Hagrid and have a good cry every so often-one that wouldn’t result in her getting drunk later, of course.


After Hagrid’s tears began to calm down, McGonagall managed to say a soft, “Thank you.” Neither said anything for a couple of minutes, looking at the sky.


“So, what’d yeh want me ter do?” Hagrid asked finally, not taking his eyes from the sky. “Should I just take a couple o’ those letters and deliver them before tellin’ them who they are or what?”


McGonagall nodded slowly. She had been feeling a lot of things in the last few moments, but she wasn’t at all sure how to express them.


Hagrid hesitated before taking a few of the letters she had already completed. She watched him leave, his giant figure hunched over in grief, and felt guilty for what she had been forced to do. There were times she envied how well Dumbledore had been able to treat Hagrid. Even though they got along, she still wished they were more comfortable together.


She looked into the distance, thinking about all the changes she would be witnessing over the next year. So many new students would be entering Hogwarts. It was then that she remembered something she had nearly forgotten about that made her heart begin to beat faster and faster.


She had forgotten to tell Hagrid there was a certain girl she wanted to deliver the news to herself.


Her heart hammering quickly, McGonagall looked through the stack of letters, hoping, praying that she would find the Hogwarts acceptance letter to the girl she needed to visit. She distinctly remembered writing it and knew she could not get Hagrid suspicious by rushing over to his house and demanding she deliver the news to her by herself. She looked through the stack another few times, but it was no use. It was plain that Hagrid had taken it.


Liza James’ Hogwarts acceptance letter was gone.


***********


Chapter 4: Giants and Letters
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A/N: So, here I am-again! I think I’ll try to update this pretty frequently, because of my newly made TA status. If you aren’t one, you’ll get it soon; a lot of people are being made them lately! I’m also sick (stupid stomach), so what a wonderful chance to update!!! I don’t want you guys hanging for too long.


Oh and I never got to thank everyone for all the wonderful reviews so far! *hands everyone a cookie* You guys are so awesome and it’s really appreciated; keep it up!


Disclaimer: Hagrid belongs to the great JKR. Mrs. Smith, Polly, Liza, and the girls at the orphanage belong to none other than ME!

 


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To the incredibly awesome PrincessPotter and my betas: you guys doing this means so much to me!
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Lost. In a sense she had been feeling this way ever since she was born, but it was impossible to ignore how much more lost she had been feeling ever since her special place had been taken away. The anger was still there, as dry as ever, and even more bitter. She was lost, forcing herself out of bed each day; lost, speaking even less than she usually did; lost, just barely getting by.


Liza usually had trouble falling asleep at night, but this time it was her thoughts, not her roommates, who kept her awake. She had never known who she was or where she fit, but the uncertainty had been gnawing at her even more prominently now. It was the thought that kept returning to the surface of her mind, even before thoughts of her biological parents snuck in, and the thoughts that scared her most of all. She could live with feeling unwanted; she had been feeling that way for the past eleven years, and she could deal with being an outcast too, but never before had she felt so utterly and completely…alone. She knew she was still welcome there, but Liza couldn’t deal with facing her library again after all that had changed. She was afraid that Julia and her friends would taunt her there again. She wanted to keep the remaining memories of her library special and was afraid she had already ruined that.


Today, she looked out the window, wishing she were a different person. It was as though she had been changed so deeply by the experience at the library that she didn’t know where she fit now. It was terrible, really, how very badly she wished she was someone else besides her. If she could have one wish, that would be it.


She stayed there in her room, looking out the window, deep in thought or reading books, for pretty much all her spare time. Sometimes she would come out for meals, to get dressed, or for her daily hour of fresh air, but she mostly stayed in her room. She had no idea why she was so depressed and how something as little as Julia’s snide comment could trigger it, seeing as she had to deal with snide comments all the time. For the first time, she couldn’t wait until school resumed and was only looking forward to the yearly trip to the country because she couldn’t wait to get away.


Liza turned back to her book. If only she lived in the world of fairytales. It would only be there that her story would be guaranteed a happy ending.


***********




It was Polly who saw the owl first.


She had been eating breakfast when she noticed a faint tapping at the window. Polly looked closer, and to her surprise, she saw that an owl was waiting outside, a letter tied to its legs.


“It’s an owl!” Polly exclaimed, and everyone immediately stopped ignoring her and turned to stare. Liza was usually the only one who paid her any attention; none of the other girls her age really liked her, so it was strange that everyone was looking at her now. The last time they had paid her so much attention was on her birthday, and that had been a couple of weeks ago now.


“Look!” Polly told them, and she pointed outside, where the snowy white owl was waiting. Everyone began to stare and chatter at once, thinking the same thoughts. What was the owl doing, and why was it carrying an envelope? Finally, an adult noticed all of the excitement and came in.


“What’s going on?” Mrs. Smith asked in a stern voice, and everyone pointed at the owl. “What the…” Mrs. Smith muttered under her breath, and her eyes opened wide in fear. She turned to face the curious girls. “I don’t know what that owl is doing,” she told them, her voice shaking slightly, “but I’m not going to let it in. It could contain rabies-or-or far worse and you’d have to get a shot for that…”


“But it’s got a letter!” Polly cried, wondering what on earth “rabies” were. “We have to let it in! It might be for one of us.”


Mrs. Smith sighed. “Polly, I know you’d like to believe in fairytales, but I’m sure someone merely tied the letter to its legs of their own account. It couldn’t be bringing it for any of you; owls aren’t smart enough.”


Everyone else seemed to agree with Mrs. Smith, and a few went back to talking amongst themselves, but for a reason she couldn’t explain, Polly was indignant. Although she knew not everyone believed in fairytales, she just knew the owl was begging to be let in. “But-but…Mrs. Smith…”


“That’s quite enough, Polly. Girls, go back to eating. I’m sure the owl will go away of its own free will.”


Everyone had returned to their conversations and food by now, glancing at the owl every now and then, but Polly couldn’t.. It was as though the owl’s eyes were pleading with her, Let me in, let me in, let me in…


And, without thinking, without even knowing why, Polly grabbed a chair and put it near the window.


There were gasps hear around the table. “Polly!” cried Mrs. Smith in terror, but she could not catch Polly fast enough. Trembling, Polly stood on the chair and struggled to open the window. Quicker, they’re going to stop me if I don’t Just as Mrs. Smith had almost reached her, Polly opened the window. She was surprised no one fainted in alarm; that always seemed to happen in stories.


The snowy white owl was so close to her now that Polly could feel it. Smiling slowly at her victory, Polly carefully untied the envelope from the owl’s claws. Somehow, the owl was smart enough not to go inside.


Mrs. Smith was nearly hysterical as Polly closed the window. “Polly…who knows what condition you’re in now, it could have bit you…never, never do that again…”


Polly began to tremble even harder. The girls were looking at her as though she was crazy- crazy, but a hero all the same. She wished Liza had seen it; Liza would have been proud of her.

That was when she noticed the emerald-green words on the envelope. Liza Minerva James…


Mrs. Smith opened her mouth to tell Polly to wash her hands; they would see a vet or a doctor to make sure she was all right later, but Polly didn’t even stick around to hear what she had to say. Smiling triumphantly, she ran. Suddenly, she knew why Liza ran away so often; it felt good to be free. She heard people calling for her all around. Some were probably running after her too, but she didn’t care. She had to show Liza. She had to.


Perhaps Mrs. Smith had finally told the girls to give up, because no one caught up with her. She rushed in to see Liza on her bed, looking out the window, with a wistful expression on her face. She stared at Polly, surprised, looking a little annoyed as well, but Polly hardly noticed. She was so excited, she could burst.


“Liza! Guess what?” Without waiting for Liza to ask, Polly jabbered on. “There was this owl who knocked on the window at breakfast, and it has a letter for you! Go on, read it.” She shoved the letter toward Liza excitedly, and Liza took it with a confused expression on her face.


Polly watched as Liza slowly opened the letter. She was so excited and proud of herself, she could have done a dance right then and there. To her surprise, Liza’s face turned from confused to even more confused to bitter. When she spoke, her voice was shaking slightly with anger.


“All right. Who did it?” When Polly didn’t respond, Liza looked as though she could have shaken her. “Who did it? Come on, Polly, I know you were there, you must have seen, you must have…”


Polly felt shocked at Liza’s reaction. The last thing she had expected was this- why was Liza so angry? Her voice came out very high and squeaky and scared sounding. “N-no one did,” she stammered, wondering why Liza was so angry. “Th-there was an owl, I told you; i-it was the one who delivered it to you…”


Polly had never seen Liza so angry before. “Polly, they told you to give me this, didn’t they? They told you to play this trick on me-it’s okay, you don’t have to play along, it really is okay…”


“But I’m not!” Polly exclaimed, and she realized she was crying now. She had expected Liza to believe her. “I-I’m really not, I wouldn’t lie to you, I wouldn’t play along…y-you’re the one who reads m-me fairytales. I thought of all people, you would believe me!”


She didn’t even let Liza respond. Although she knew Mrs. Smith and the girls were waiting for her, probably about to make her wash her hands and maybe even go to the vet for a rabies shot (whatever that was), she couldn’t stay in the room with Liza any longer. So she ran out, tears streaming down her face, awaiting her fate.


**********




It turned out that that wasn’t the only letter Liza ended up getting. Though the rest were delivered in the mail, not by owl, the letters never stopped. They kept increasing, too. A week after the original was delivered, at least fifty were delivered to the orphanage.


Though the gang of girls who had made the snide comments at the library began to tease Liza about having a secret admirer, Polly made an effort to keep out of Liza’s way. She still liked Liza as much as ever, but she didn’t want Liza blowing up at her again. The only time she saw Liza was in their dorm room at night, covering up her face with her blankets, trying to block out the world.


In truth, everyone at the orphanage was more than confused about the various letters. Had Liza attracted a stalker? Mrs. Smith had looked especially paralyzed after she read one of them.


Polly still wondered what the letters said. She had gotten a hold of one of them, but she had trouble concentrating on all the words. Why was someone writing Liza letters about a “hog wart?”


**********




It was a few days over a week after the first letter when Hagrid arrived.


Liza had been making an attempt to ignore everyone. In truth, the letters were scaring her. It wasn’t the possibility that she had attracted a stalker that was scaring her so much, but the fact that she was-well-special. After all, she couldn’t be. She just couldn’t! These letters were a joke-they had to be! They just had to.


She was eating her breakfast in her dorm, all by herself, when she heard a voice, that sounded suspiciously like Mrs. Smith’s, scream, shortly after a loud crash.


“Stalker! Murderer! Someone call the police-someone-someone-”


“I’m not a murderer, yeh big muggle,” came another voice that Liza had never heard before. It was very big and loud, yet kind sounding. “Shush, calm down- I’m only here to explain a few things to one of yer girls, about this Hogwarts she’ll be going to-”


“Oh, so you’re the one who’s responsible for all the letters? Well, I really do need to call the police then-if this isn’t stalking, I don’t know what is-”


“Yeh call the police, and I’ll show you my-err-wand then, yeah,” said the voice easily, but his words only made Mrs. Smith shriek louder and more hysterically. Liza couldn’t resist any longer. She slowly crept out of the room to where she was sure the screams were coming from.


Liza’s eyes became very big when she saw the giant. He had eyes as black as a beetle and a long mane of brown beard and hair. Everything about him was enormous, including the huge hand that was clutching a very pink umbrella.


“LIZA, DON’T GO NEAR HIM!”


Mrs. Smith had noticed her come into the room. Liza jumped back in surprise at Mrs. Smith’s word. The giant’s wary smile disappeared as he looked at Liza.


Maybe he’s realized I’m not supposed to be going to that school, Liza thought to herself, but she had a feeling that wasn’t it, exactly. It was something about the way she looked. She fingered her shoulder length red hair nervously and repositioned her thin glasses over her emerald green eyes. The giant’s face had turned white, staring at her.


“This is Liza?” he asked, and Mrs. Smith nodded. “Well…” the giant began, but he couldn’t think of anything else to say. He just stared at her, as though he was seeing a ghost or- something else, since if magic really did exist, maybe ghosts did too.


“Yeh say she’s an orphan?” the giant asked at last, and Mrs. Smith nodded. Her voice was still shaking, but it was the calmest it had been since she’d seen the giant.


“She’s been here her whole life. Well, I’m not sure if both of her parents are dead, but I know for a fact that one of them is-mother or father, can’t remember which. I can get her records out, if you like,” she added quickly, but the giant shook his head.


“That’s al’right,” he said, looking Liza over one last time, and then tore his gaze away from her and looked at Mrs. Smith. “So, I- I suppose yeh’ve looked at her Hogwarts letter?”


“Yes, and I won’t have you taking her away,” said Mrs. Smith immediately, the desperation and fear returning in her voice. “I-I’ll call the police, I’ll call the authorities, anything to keep you from taking her…”


“Well, yeh’ll have a lo’ of time to get used to it then, term doesn’t start till September first.” He looked again at Liza, as though he still couldn’t believe his eyes-or didn’t want to, Liza couldn’t help thinking.


“Something’s not wrong with me, is it?” Liza asked anxiously and, looking at him again, Liza could see the giant was forcing himself to smile. He even chuckled slightly.


“No, there’s nothing wrong with yeh-just my eyes, maybe.” It looked as though he was forcing the thought aside. “So, I suppose yeh have read one of yer letters too?”


“I’ve read one,” Liza admitted, the bitterness sinking in again, “but I don’t believe it. I mean-I’m not special, I can’t be a witch.”


But even her voice came out small and doubtful.


“Where would yeh have gotten that idea from?” the giant demanded, turning to Mrs. Smith. “You! Have yeh been teaching yer girls that they aren’t special enough?”


“I’ve been doing nothing of the sort!” Mrs. Smith cried indignantly. “It’s not my fault Liza feels that way! Liza-she’s always been an exception, she’s always been different. She’s been planting her own ideas in her mind, ever since she was born!”


“Sure sounds like it,” the giant muttered a bit sarcastically before turning to Liza again. He stared at her for a few more minutes. “I’m sorry,” he said, perhaps realizing he shouldn’t be staring. “Yeh look so much like-like-”


“Who?” Liza said curiously and was surprised to see tears swimming up in the giant’s eyes. She decided not to press the issue any further.


“Anyway, call me Hagrid. I’m the gamekeeper, Keeper of the Keys, Care of Magical Creatures teacher, whatever yer little heart desires at yer new school,” Hagrid said. Liza could tell he was still trying to blink away the tears that were swimming in his eyes.


“She’s not going!” said Mrs. Smith, obviously trying to sound stern, but her voice still came out shaky. Both Liza and the giant-Hagrid-ignored her.


“But I’m not special,” said Liza again, trying desperately to hold on to the words. “I’m not, I’m not…I’m just ordinary…not special like anyone with-with parents or f-families or anything…I’m not special like them…”


“Well, yeh’ll be special where yer going to, if yeh still don’t believe you are now,” said Hagrid, still shaking his head. “Gallopin’ gargoyles, maybe most of the other wizards an’ witches yer age have parents, but at least they’re in yer world…”


He was staring at her again. Liza was beginning to get annoyed. “What?” she asked crossly. “Can’t you concentrate on anything better in this room, but me?”


“Sorry,” said Hagrid, but it looked like it was hard for him to tear his eyes away from her.


“Yeh still don’t believe it, do yeh?” Hagrid asked, and Liza shrugged. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe him exactly, but it was impossible. It was impossible with the knowledge she had and the way she’d always viewed herself.


“Then-then-strange things haven’t happened before to yeh? When you were scared or angry…”


Feeling her cheeks redden, Liza nodded slowly. She felt strange admitting it.


“We’ll need a place to sit down,” Hagrid told Mrs. Smith easily, as though knowing she would obey. “Maybe a sittin’ room or somethin’. Anyway, that’s yer powers showing. Better learn to control them, the Ministry doesn’t like witches an’ wizards doin’ magic before they’re seventeen. That’s the Ministry of Magic,” he added, to Liza’s confused face. “Every country has one.”


Mrs. Smith had led them to the staff’s lounge. Liza, who had never been there before, looked around it curiously.


“There are all kinds of witches an’ wizards,” Hagrid explained to her. “Some are muggleborns: their parents were muggles, non-magic folk, like yers. Though come to think of it, yer parents might have been a witch and a wizard or maybe one of each, after all.” Liza flinched at the mention of her parents and noticed Hagrid had a hard time saying it, too.


“Anyway, they’re a lo’ of ways people get magic in them. Some even have magical parents and no magic in them at all. Yeh’ll be meeting a lot of combinations of people at Hogwarts. Some will tell yeh that they’re better than yeh are cause they’re purebloods-they don’t have any muggleborns or muggles in their lines, or so they say. But that’s a lot of hogwash, if I ever heard it. Yeh’re special, no matter they say.” He emphasized the word “special," probably just for her.


Then why was I abandoned like that? Liza wondered to herself, but she didn’t say this aloud. Maybe Hagrid was right, but she still had trouble grasping on to the idea. It was much easier to accept that she wasn’t special than that she was. After all, she had been telling herself she wasn’t special her whole life.


Mrs. Smith made a grunt, as though she was about to say something, but when Hagrid and Liza looked at her she quickly covered up with a cough. Hagrid turned back to his speech.


“Anyway, like I said, yeh shouldn’t listen to them. Yeh’ll be going to Hogwarts for seven years. Yeh’ll need to deal with it; yeh can’t let them get to yeh. There are a lot of classes yeh’ll be taking at Hogwarts-Transfiguration, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, Potions, Herbology...yeh’ll be sure to find your knack somewhere. That reminds me,” he said suddenly, as though remembering right then and there, “I brought yer school list, in case yeh’ve lost it. If yeh had parents, I’d just give yeh directions, but as it goes…” His voice sounded reluctant, as he trailed off, for some reason. “I’d better be taking yeh to get them at Diagon Alley. Have anythin’ goin’ on today?”


“You won’t be taking her anywhere,” said Mrs. Smith immediately, the strength back in her voice again. “Under my demand…nowhere…”


“Maybe it’s time I show you an’ Liza what will happen if yeh try to disagree with me,” Hagrid suggested, and he waved his pink umbrella. Liza watched in anticipation, curious as to what would happen next.


There was a picture on the table they were sitting at, and Liza and Mrs. Smith watched in awe as the photo’s, which looked like a picture of Mrs. Smith some years ago, hair changed from dirty blonde to pink. It was rather like Serena’s hair had-though hers had been blue, not pink, of course.


“And of course,” added Hagrid cheerfully, as Mrs. Smith continued staring, “I really can change yer hair like that if need be! Maybe it’d be best if we did the shopping today. I can tell Liza a few more things while we do it, and I have a few more people I have to tell in the next few days. It’d be best that we get it good and over with.”


She could tell he was trying very hard not to look at her again as he asked Mrs. Smith, “Yeh’re sure yeh don’t know anything about her parents? Yeh’re sure?”


“Nothing,” said Mrs. Smith, shaking her head, a little frightened. “I’d never even heard of the hospital that she came from before.”


Hagrid simply nodded, taking this in. Liza wasn’t sure why, but she felt even more indignant than ever.


“It’ll only take a coupl’ of hours,” Hagrid assured Mrs. Smith, as he got up, nearly taking the chair he had squeezed himself into with him. “Liza, you coming?”


The indignation had built up. Liza couldn’t stand it any longer.


“No,” she whispered, but was distressed to find that her voice sounded weak and helpless, in place of angry. “I’m not special…I’m not a witch…I’m not- I’m not…”


Her voice caught on a sob, but she would not cry. Liza was a lot of things, but a crier wasn’t one of them. She had never really just let loose and cry before. She’d trained herself not to.


“It’s okay,” Hagrid said, looking at Mrs Smith. “Let her cry. It’ll do her some good to cry once in a while.”


But Liza couldn’t. She could force herself to believe that she was special if she really wanted to, but she couldn’t get herself to cry, no matter how very badly she needed to.


**********


Chapter 5: A Man Called Potter
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A/N: Thank you for the warm response so far! I can’t believe that nearly fifty people have bookmarked this in their favorites! In my opinion, this isn’t one of my strongest chapters (probably not typo-free, though I did edit it today), but I hope you enjoy anyway. Remember, my reviews are always appreciated-I love hearing what you guys think! :-)


Disclaimer: If I were JKR, why on earth would I submit my Post-Hogwarts fic before my final Hogwarts one? ;-)


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Liza didn’t talk for a few minutes after they left her orphanage. She was still in shock.


She supposed she had known, deep down inside, that there probably was a reason why strange things always happened around her, but she had thought it would be a more logical one. After all, she could hardly believe magic existed. If magic existed, then what else could? She couldn’t think of anything else, as magic seemed like the most unlikely possibility of all.


By the third or fourth letter, she had suspected that the letters might be more real than she had expected, but it was still odd, seeing magic right in front of her. And-what if it was a dream? What if it was all just a dream and Hagrid didn’t exist and she would wake up in a few moments, depressed and angry and empty all over again…?


Then there were her parents-her biological ones, the ones Liza had been angry at ever since she knew the situation she’d been born into. Had they been magic too or was she a-what was that word again-muggleborn? Why was Hagrid staring at her so funny, even as they walked? Her mind was swirling with questions, but she had no idea what to ask first. It was as though she was in a dreamlike state and was not completely awake yet.


And yet, another part of Liza was still refusing to believe it. As much as it explained so much about why she had been an outcast in her orphanage, she still felt a bit like one.


“Yeh don’t have any money with yeh, do you?” said Hagrid suddenly, startling Liza out of her dreamlike state. She was worried suddenly, worried that they’d have to return home to retrieve the money she hadn’t thought to bring with her. She didn’t even have very much of it.


“Well-I have a few pounds, but probably not enough to buy everything we need,” said Liza, and she could feel her cheeks turning red. “We could go back though, and get it…I’m sure I could scrape up enough for something, and maybe Mrs. Smith could supply some…”


“Nah,” said Hagrid, looking as though he was thinking it over. “It’s al’right. I doubt that muggle would agree to give us anythin’, and besides, I can probably manage to spare enough galleons to pay for everythin’ you need.”


“Galleons?” repeated Liza, a new possibility occurring to her. “Is there-wizarding money?”


Hagrid nodded. “Knuts, silver Sickles, and Galleons. Galleons are the most valuable-seventeen silver Sickles make up a Galleon and twenty-nine Knuts make up a Sickle. Much easier ter understand than all those muggle money rules-never have been able to get a grasp fer them.”


Wondering what was complicated about pounds and pence, Liza didn’t respond right away.


“I don’t want you to have to pay for me,” she told him. No one had ever paid anything for her before, with the exceptions of all her expenses at the orphanage, so she wasn’t quite sure she felt right with Hagrid offering to pay for her.


“Neve’ mind that. Yeh got enough to worry about without havin’ to worry about affordin’ ter pay fer Hogwarts too.”


Before she could ask Hagrid what he meant, she noticed that he was suddenly coming to a halt, and turning in the direction of a tiny bar. A bit put-off, she couldn’t help wondering what he was doing in a pub of all places.


“Yeh’ll find out later,” Hagrid told her meaningfully, perhaps noticing her reluctance to follow him. “A littl’ patience sometimes gets yeh a long-”


He stopped as a dead silence greeted him when they walked into the pub. It was an old pub, Liza observed-old and grey looking-but she hardly had time to look around before the people began to talk, enthusiastically, but curiously.


“Ah, Hagrid! You haven’t been here for ages, I was almost beginning to think you’d never come-” “What’s gotten in to you, we’ve missed you so much-” “I got married since you last saw me, can you believe that-”


“Congratulations,” murmured Hagrid to the short man who had announced his marriage. “And fer yer information, all of yeh, I’m afraid I don’t have time to sit and lollygag-got important business to do here; a pub’s not place for a young girl.”


Liza hid behind Hagrid as he said this, suddenly feeling self-conscious. She probably could have hid from most of the people because of Hagrid’s enormous size if the giant hadn't introduced her.



“Everyone,” he said, a bit gruffly, “this is Liza.”


The reaction was quite similar to the one Hagrid had gotten upon first walking into the pub. Everyone turned around and stared at Liza. People dressed in funny robes and  witches’ hats were staring at her. If she had felt self-conscious before, it was nothing compared to how she was feeling now.


“You’re-you’re Liza?”


Liza nodded to the woman who had asked her the question. Feeling very uncomfortable, she wished Hagrid would just take her from this place, so they could go on and get the shopping over with.


“Well-that’s certainly a surprise, nice to meet you then,” said the woman, as everyone else continued to stare at her. Liza’s annoyance began to build up. She had no idea why everyone was staring at her like she was a creature from another world (though she was, sort of, as she hadn’t grown up with magic), and suddenly, she couldn’t stand it any longer.


“What?” she asked, suddenly and forcefully, causing many people to look up at her in surprise. “What-what did I do? Why are you all staring at me-hasn’t Hagrid brought other kids here before me? I mean, maybe they actually had parents to bring them, but I can’t possibly be the only one Hagrid’s brought-I can’t possibly be…” With a sinking feeling, Liza realized that no matter where she was, not having parents still made her different.


“But-that’s just it,” murmured another person this time, staring at her in surprise. “The only other child Hagrid’s ever taken to Diagon Alley before was-was-”


Who?” demanded Liza, even angrier now, and she watched as the people turned to each other, as though wondering who would be the brave one and tell her. She noticed that Hagrid in particular was staring at her, as though afraid of what they would say.


“Harry,” said a brave woman suddenly, as everyone else looked away. “Harry-Harry Potter.”


Hagrid looked as though he was seriously fighting some emotions, and everyone else began to talk again, perhaps to cover up the awkwardness of the situation, but Liza barely noticed. For a reason she couldn’t even understand, the mention of that man had sent a shiver through her spine. She looked around everyone, wondering the significance of the name.


“Harry Potter,” she whispered, looking at everyone once again, who were still talking to cover up the awkwardness of the situation. "Who’s-who’s he?”


Liza waited impatiently, but nobody answered her. Finally, Hagrid seemed to realize that they were standing in the middle of the floor in silence and hastily tried to cover up. “Well, we’d better get goin’-Diagon Alley’s busy at this time, and I promised I’d take Liza home at a decent hour-”


The chatter started up again, but this time it didn’t seem quite as animated as it had been before. It seemed rather forced instead.


“Good luck, Hagrid!” “Have fun, Liza!” “Diagon Alley’s really interesting, you’ll enjoy it-you’ll enjoy Hogwarts as well, I’m sure-”


Liza followed Hagrid out of the pub, questions burning in her mind.


“Well, here we are,” said Hagrid, also sounding as though he was forcing cheerfulness. He had led her to a small, walled courtyard, but Liza was so intent on her question being answered that she hardly noticed.


“Hagrid-that man they mentioned earlier-Harry Potter-who’s he?”


“Liza, there’s a lo’ about the Wizarding World yeh have to find out, I don’t have time to tell you now-”


“But-he’s important, I can tell-you took him here when he was my age, what happened to him, I want to know-”


“All in good time, Liza, just be patient and I’ll promise yeh-”


Hagrid, who’s Harry Potter?


The question sent Hagrid’s umbrella flying with a gust of sudden wind. Hagrid shook his head at her. “Gulpin’ Gargoyles, Liza! I told yeh the Ministry o’ Magic doesn’t like kids yer age doin’ magic; yeh’ll have to learn to control yer temper or they’ll be after you, they will. Yeh’ll have ter. And next time, make sure it’s not my umbrella-I happen to need that right now.”


“Hagrid,” said Liza in a small voice, trying to control her anger, “I’m sorry. I just-I just wanted to know…”


“Shush.”


Liza’s words were cut off as Hagrid, upon retrieving his umbrella, began tapping the wall at the end of the courtyard with the tip of his umbrella. Just as Liza, watching with awe and fascination, began to ask what he was doing, the bricks began to move.


Any uncertainties about magic she had had were mere memories now. The brick Hagrid had touched began to quiver, and a small hole in the wall appeared, becoming bigger and bigger, until they were in an archway in a cobbled street that twisted and turned out of sight.


Liza could hardly even speak. Hagrid smiled gruffly. “Welcome to Diagon Alley.”


Liza wouldn’t have even paid attention to Hagrid, if he hadn’t begun to answer her question. There were a thousand shops to see, complete with a thousand things she hadn’t even thought were possible. She could hardly tear her eyes away from it all.


“Now,” said Hagrid as he lowered his voice, looking at all the people surrounding them, “this is a touchy subject fer me, so I apologize in advance if I start to-yeh know. Cry or somethin’ like that.”


“Why would you cry?” said Liza, realizing eagerly that he was about to answer her question. Hagrid merely shook his head and didn’t answer.


“Anyway, the point is, nearly thirty years ago now, there was a man named-named-blimey, it’s still hard to say, even after he’s dead-”


“Harry Potter?”


“No, this was another man-a Dark Wizard, by the name of-of-”


“Maybe we should sit down,” Liza suggested, hoping that this would inspire Hagrid to tell her more. She motioned to a pair of benches nearby and she sat in one, while Hagrid had enough room in the other one.


“You don’t have to tell me,” Liza told him, a few moments after they were sitting down. “I just want to hear about this Harry Potter.”


“No, it’s al’righ; you can’t hear about him unless yeh’ve heard about this guy first. His name-blimey, I hope no one’s listening, wouldn’t want ter scare them-his name was-his name was Lord Voldemort. An’ before yeh tell me that’s nothin’ to be afraid of,” Hagrid added, looking at Liza’s open mouth, which she closed quickly upon his words, “yeh haven’t heard of what he did just yet.


“This wizard’s name was Tom Riddle, originally, I knew him at school as a matter o’ fact, but he changed it to-yeh know, the name I told yeh earlier. He started to get followers when he was ou’ of school, oh, about sixty years or so ago now. Pretty soon, he got followers and became one of the most powerful wizards there was. Well, except for Harry Potter-an’ a man named Albus Dumbledore.”


He blew his nose and his eyes began to fill up with tears before he blinked them away. Liza had already guessed that Hagrid had known this Harry Potter, and it seemed that he had known the Dumbledore character too.


“Anyway, Dumbledore was headmaster of Hogwarts fer quite a while-he was the only one who You-Know-Who was afraid of, they say. Great man, Dumbledore-he was like-like a second father to me or somethin’. M’ own died in m’ second year.”


“Dumbledore died?” Liza asked in a small voice, noting Hagrid's use of "was." Hagrid gravely shook his head.


“Yeah. About thirteen years ago, now, if yeh can believe it. It was one of the Death Eaters-You-Know-Who’s followers-who killed him. Now, don’t ask me any more about that, it’s too sad ter think about.” Liza wasn’t sure if she was just imagining it, but from the way Hagrid was saying, she had a feeling there was another reason, too.


“But that was after-after this Harry Potter came to Hogwarts. Firs’ things firs’. People had pretty much given up hope of You-Know-Who ever bein’ defeated when he tried to kill this-this Harry Potter. He was only a baby, a year old at the time. His parents were a great witch and wizard in their day-they were Head Boy and Girl in their seventh year, Lily and James were. It was You-Know-Who who killed them.”


Oh, thought Liza, suddenly beginning to understand. So this Harry Potter was an orphan, too.


“There’s a lo’ of disagreements ter why You-Know-Who tried to kill Harry in the firs’ place-some say he just wanted his parents and Harry came along with the package, but others say it was because of a prophecy that said only Harry could kill You-Know-Who-if he didn’t kill him first. I dunno if it was the prophecy, but it seems to me that a prophecy would explain a lot, seeing as that was exactly what happened.”


“So Harry did kill this Vol-I mean, this wizard?”


But Hagrid cut her off before she could say his name.


“Yeah, he did. And don’ even think about sayin’ the name, it’s bad luck if yeh do.”


Liza looked at Hagrid questioningly as he went on.


“Anyway, he tried ter kill Harry, but he couldn’t. He’d killed millions of people before that, and yet, he couldn’t kill that baby boy. No one still knows why. He disappeared after that, some thought he died-it wasn’t till Harry’s fourth year that he came back.”


“But-I still don’t understand. You knew this Harry Potter, didn’t you?” Although she felt guilty for asking because of the sad, wistful expression on Hagrid’s face, she was also curious.


“Yeah, I knew him. Dumbledore asked me ter tell him when he wasn’t receiving his Hogwarts letters, so I did. He was livin’ with muggles before Hogwarts: his aunt and uncle and cousin. His mum, Lily, was a muggleborn, so they were on her side. Still can’t understand why Dumbledore wanted him ter live with them-yeh might think yer Mrs. Smith is bad, but she’s an angel compared to these lot.”


“Go on….” Liza urged him eagerly. Hagrid sighed before continuing.


“Yeah, so Harry and I knew each other. We were friends-his friends and he came over to visit me all the time.” He blew into his handkerchief again. “Harry’d seen You-Know-Who in different forms, glimpses, before, but it was his fourth year when he really came back. At first, the Ministry didn’t believe it. No one wanted to anyway. It was after his fifth year that the second war really began.


“It was awful. Wouldn’t pay to live it again for anything. Well, except maybe seeing Harry or Dumbledore alive again. It was even worse than the first if yeh can believe it. Dark times. So many deaths. Yeh’re glad yeh weren’t alive yet.”


“So-Harry died?”


“He was almost eighteen when he killed You-Know-Who. Long story, really. Hogwarts didn’t open up that year; war was too harsh. It was righ’ after he killed You-Know-Who that he died. No one knows what happened to him, who killed him. There are rumors about that too, that he lost his strength, couldn’t go on…but no one really knows. No one really knows fer sure what happened the night Harry Potter finally died.”


She watched as Hagrid blew into his handkerchief yet again, but louder and longer this time. She wasn’t sure what to say. She could plainly see that this Harry Potter had meant a lot to Hagrid and wasn’t sure what she could do to comfort him, so she merely sat there, watching as his eyes filled up with more and more tears.


And then there were the feelings Liza couldn’t even explain to herself. For some reason she couldn’t explain, she felt like she had a connection with this Harry Potter. Maybe it was because he was the only other child Hagrid had taken to Diagon Alley or perhaps it was because he was an orphan too. Whatever the reason was, Liza couldn’t help feeling sad that Harry Potter had died. She had a strange feeling that she would have liked him.


Liza watched the people who came out of the shops in Diagon Alley, dressed in clothes that she would be getting sometime in the next few hours. This was her world now. She didn’t know it very well, just yet, but this was her world. She had been destined to come into it ever since she had been born, but it was only today that she had entered it for the first time. She couldn’t help wondering what other surprises would be in store for her today. So much had happened that Liza could hardly believe the day wasn’t even over yet.


Suddenly, Liza felt an urge to go into the shops and get her school supplies done with once and for all. She didn’t know why she wanted to so badly, but curiosity had taken over and she was sick of sitting here, watching. She wanted to explore the shops for herself.


“Can we go now?” she asked Hagrid, who blinked at her before getting up, and Liza realized in surprise that she was finally ready to join the Wizarding World for the first time.


**********


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