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It was just an ordinary day. I was, as usual, staying up late to read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the billionth time (it was actually my eleventh time reading it). It was the part when Harry has his first kiss with Cho Chang. That was when it happened.
You see, I have this strange habit of thinking aloud when no one’s around. I don’t know why, but it’s easier for me to say it rather than keep it in my head. Well, that just happened to be my downfall. Since I was reading in my head and thinking aloud, I totally missed the three gunshot-like sounds that came from down the hall. I should have heard them. If I had, then I would’ve been more prepared and not had said this.
“Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it even though I’ve read it before. Harry’s got his first girlfriend! It’s so cute. Even though in this book he’s a little older than me, but it’s still so cute!” When I read about him, Harry Potter feels like my younger brother. I was so unprepared for what happened next.
“Of course, you’re reading the most embarrassing part. Just my luck.” A British accented voice sounded from my doorway. I was about to scream, but when I saw who it was, I froze. A guy, about seventeen years old, with black hair and startling green eyes stood in my doorway. Did I mention that he had a lightning shaped scar on his forehead? Yes, I was sure I was hallucinating, until another person appeared.
“You sure that’s her? She could have a sister or something.” Another guy, about the same age, was standing next to the other one. His ears were turned red from nervousness, and he was tall and gangly, with flaming red hair and freckles. Yes, red hair and freckles.
“Of course it’s her, Ronald. Don’t you recognize her room, or the book in her hand, for that matter? I checked the rest of the house, and all her family members are asleep. I dribbled a little bit of sleeping potion in their mouths, just in case.” The third person, who I was kind of expecting by now, had bushy brown hair. She, at least, was looking at me with kindness and respect, while the guys regarded me as if they were sizing me up. I didn’t like it. It made me nervous, but I had to say something. I had imagined this moment a million times before, but I was just so stunned.
“H….H…” I stuttered. Ron Weasley rolled his eyes.
“Harry, she’s definitely a fan.” He said.
“Hermione Granger!” I finally blurted out. The others looked at me with surprise. Of course, they were expecting me to say ‘Harry Potter’, but I didn’t care. He wasn’t as remarkable as Hermione. He was just more famous.
“Yes, that’s me.” She said nervously. Of course, she’s so modest.
“And Ron Weasley and Harry Potter!” I had finally regained the power of normal speech.
“Hey, I wasn’t last for once!” Ron said happily. I had said his name second on purpose.
“Well, she knows who we are, so we can skip the introductions.” Harry Potter (!) said. He laughed shakily.
“Don’t laugh at her, you’ll scare her! To her we’re just fiction come to life. She must think she’s hallucinating.” Hermione was speaking as if I wasn’t there and as if I were about two years old.
“Please, I’m past that stage. I never stay in denial for long. It’s easy to believe that you’re real people; I’m just not sure you’re who you say you are. After all, you could be Death Eaters who have taken Polyjuice Potion.” It was very possible.
“She’s good.” Ron muttered.
“How are you going to make sure we are who we say we are?” Hermione asked. This was a test, of course. I’m good with tests, especially ones I’m prepared for, and I am definitely prepared for this one.
“I’m going to ask you questions only the true Hermione, Harry, and Ron would know. Let’s start with you.” I nodded towards Harry. “There aren’t many questions I could ask you that Snape wouldn’t know the answer to, so don’t be surprised if I ask you personal questions. So, Harry, the summer before your fifth year started, an escort of sorts showed up at Number 4, Privet Drive to take you away. One of them asked you a question that serves the same purpose as this one. What was the question and who asked it?” I already knew the answer, of course, but I wanted to see how much he remembered.
“Lupin asked me what shape my Patronus takes.” He answered. That was true, but I wanted a complete answer. I cocked an eyebrow to indicate that I was waiting. “I said that it takes the shape of a stag. It takes the shape of a stag because when my father was at Hogwarts he was nicknamed ‘Prongs’ because he was an unregistered Animagus and could change into a stag. Lupin asked me that because he had known my father at school, he had taught me to do a Patronus, and because Mad-Eye Moody had wanted to make sure that I wasn’t a Death Eater, since he’s always so suspicious.” His answer was just about as complete as it could be, and I was surprised at how much he remembered. I nodded.
“Very good. Now, my next question I don’t think even the most perceptive Death Eater could know unless they read the book, but they probably wouldn’t do that since it’s technically part of the Muggle world. The only person who would know this answer, other than Harry, is Hermione. So, Harry, when did you first start to like Cho Chang?” I asked. This may seem embarrassing, but it definitely wasn’t, compared to what I had in store for the rest of them. Harry turned pink.
“I started to like her, er, at the Gryffindor- Ravenclaw Quidditch match in my third year. She was playing Seeker opposite me, and she kept blocking me. Wood yelled at me to ‘stop being a gentleman and knock her off her broom if I had to’” Harry said. Ron laughed.
“Think it’s funny do you? I wouldn’t be laughing, Mr. I Have A Crush on My Older Brother’s Wife. You’re next.” I said. Ron’s ears reached magenta coloured.
“How did you know?”
“It’s so obvious. I know that she’s part-Veela, but seriously, get a grip.” I know I was being kind of mean, but they snuck up on me in the middle of the night! At least I had made Hermione and Harry laugh. I just hope I’m gaining their respect. They may be older than me, but I am smarter than Harry and Ron, considering they haven’t been to Muggle school since fifth grade. Hermione already kind of respected me, and I was grateful for that.
“I believe you were going to ask me some questions?” Ron said. He must be really embarrassed if he wants to be tested. Maybe it had something to do with embarrassing him in front of Hermione…
“Yes. One year for Christmas a certain lady friend gave you an embarrassing gift. What was it?” I asked. I wasn’t sure if Hermione knew this, but I know Harry did.
“It was a necklace.”
“You’ll have to do better than that, mate. She’s tough.” Harry said.
“It’s like being back at the OWLs. It was a very sparkly necklace that said ‘My Sweetheart’. Lavender Brown gave it to me in the sixth year because she was my girlfriend. It wasn’t a great year for presents. Harry got maggots from Kreacher.” Ron was funny when backed into a corner. But he had given the correct answer.
“Very good. Ron, who was the first person that you asked to the Yule Ball?” I really didn’t mean to embarrass him, but it was the only thing I could come up with at the time.
“The Yule Ball was in our fourth year because of the Triwizard Tournament. Harry was a champion so it was especially important for him to get a date because he and the other champions had to start the dance. We were talking, and Harry and I were desperate, so we agreed that by the end of the day we would both have dates. I was walking down the corridor when I saw Fleur Delacour talking to Diggory. Before I knew what I was saying, I asked her. She just kind of stared at me until I ran for it.”
“You asked someone before that.” I said. I furtively glanced at Hermione. She looked slightly hurt. Ron was silent for a moment.
“I asked Hermione. She said someone had asked her already, but I thought she had just said that because I had hurt her feelings by accidentally implying that I hadn’t noticed before that she was a girl. I also thought that she had refused because she was proud. It was only after that I saw that she actually had a date.” Ron’s voice turned hard and cold. Hermione noticed the change, and so did I. “Viktor Krum had asked her.”
“Ron?” I asked. He was kind of just staring into space.
“Yeah?” He looked up.
“You get an O, for Outstanding.” I said quietly. I could see it meant a lot to him that I said that, just as I knew it would. He had never been an especially strong student.
“Thank you.”
“Hermione, your turn.”
“I’m ready.” I knew she was. Even though this was not an official test, she would still do her absolute best and worry about every single detail.
“Who fixed your teeth?” I asked. It may seem a simple question, but it wasn’t that simple.
“My parents are dentists. I used to wear a brace that would pull them into the proper place so they wouldn’t stick out so much. Just before the Yule Ball in the fourth year, Harry and Malfoy had a fight. Malfoy’s curse hit me and made my teeth grow rapidly. I went to the hospital wing, where Madam Pomfrey held up a mirror, started shrinking my teeth, and told me to say ‘stop’ when they looked normal. I let her carry on a bit, but once I got home, my parents were angry. At first they had thought that I had shrunken them myself, since I had been asking them if I could for so long, but they believed me once I explained it to them.”
“Who did you bring to Slughorn’s party?” I asked. This whole question thing was pointless, since I knew they were all who they said they were, but this question was test of her honesty to Ron. Hermione drew a breath. She looked grave.
“Ron and I were in a fight, so I brought the one person who would upset him the most. I had two prospects. One was Zacharias Smith. The other was Cormac McLaggen. I knew he would upset Ron, not only because he’s a jerk, but because he almost was the Gryffindor Keeper instead of Ron. If Ron and I hadn’t been in a fight, then I probably would’ve taken him. I paid for it, though. I ended up having a horrible time, either dodging Cormac or listening to him talk about himself.” Hermione didn’t look at Ron once while she said this. Yet she still left out the one thing I had wanted to hear her say.
“Anything else?” I asked. She shook her head.
“A” I said.
“What?” She seemed as if she hadn’t heard me.
“A for Acceptable. You left out a detail. A teacher would have given you an E, but I know you well enough that my expectations for you are that you mostly get Os and put everything you know into an answer.”
“That’s not fair! Hermione, everything you said was true, right?” Ron asked. Hermione nodded but remained silent. “She had a complete answer! If she left something out, then what was it?” Ron stared at me. I was still sitting on the bed, so I got to my feet.
“Everything she said was true, but she left something out. I’m not sure that I should be the one to tell you what it is. Hermione left it out deliberately.” My eyes never left Hermione’s. “I’m sorry, but it was the right thing to do.”
“I know, Sarah.”
“Maybe you should all get to bed. It’s late, and I’m sure you’ve had a long day. We have one spare bed, and I can make up the couches, I could get you sleeping bags or you could conjure up some beds. I want you to try and stay in this side of the house. If you wake up my parents they might call the police. Stay out of my sister’s room, too. She doesn’t exactly welcome strangers that come in the middle of the night. We’ll be getting up early because there’s school tomorrow, I’ll explain then. So, what are the sleeping arrangements?” It was getting late and I was tired, though I doubted I’d be able to sleep. Harry spoke.
“Ron can have the spare bed, Hermione can sleep in here and I’ll take a couch. Is that okay?” Everyone nodded. Harry and Hermione exchanged a glance.
“The only couch on this side of the house is in the basement, so you might want to sleep in the spare room.” I said.
“Sure. Could you show me where the sleeping bags are?”

Ron slept in the bed in the spare room, while Harry slept in a sleeping bag on the floor. That left Hermione in my room with me.
“Do you want the bed?” I asked.
“No, you probably need the sleep more than I do.” She said.
“I doubt I’ll sleep.”
“I don’t think I will either. There’s so much left to explain. The only thing we’ve established so far is that we’re real and we’re not Death Eaters.”
“I had already known that you weren’t Death Eaters.” I had only been showing off before, demonstrating my knowledge of their world.
“Then why ask the questions? To embarrass us?” Hermione asked. She smiled.
“I wanted to show you that I’m not totally oblivious to the world around me. I’ve picked up on things that most people haven’t. I kept myself open to the idea that magic exists. I was never sure that I believed in it, until I got that calendar.” I nodded to the Harry Potter calendar on my wall. “All of the pictures so far have had one of you three in it. I knew it was a Muggle calendar, since you didn’t move once, but I knew that you had bewitched it in some way. You were watching me, assessing me for some reason. I started talking to the calendar since I could feel how strong your presence was. I could sometimes, if I tried hard enough, hear wisps of your conversations. That is, until I realized what I was doing. I convinced myself that it was simply good photography, and that I was trying to believe something because I wanted it to be true.”
“I noticed the care you put into the questions you asked us.” Hermione said. I knew what she was talking about.
“You mean how I picked questions that Snape, Pettigrew, Malfoy, or Riddle wouldn’t know the answer to. Snape could’ve known a few of them from when he used Legilimancy in Harry’s Occlumency lessons, but he only saw flashes of what Harry saw, not the entire history of the memory. Pettigrew would have known many things from pretending to be Scabbers for the first three years, but he wouldn’t have known about Harry’s crush on Cho, since Ron didn’t know and since Pettigrew would only know what you talked about and what he heard others talk about, but nobody ever talked about Harry and Cho until after the third year. Riddle would only know things from his Death Eaters, and from Quirrel. Other than that he would know very little about Harry’s life. Malfoy, junior and senior, also know very little about the questions I asked. Draco Malfoy could have known about your teeth, but I doubt that he noticed when they shrank to less than normal size. He also could have known that you brought McLaggen to Slughorn’s party, but he wouldn’t know why.”
“Good job. Why do you call Voldemort Riddle?” Hermione inquired.
“Voldemort is his chosen name. By calling him by his chosen name, I would be obeying his rules and giving him power. I refuse to do that. Tom Riddle is a name that he hates, the name of the person who caused him to have a sad childhood in an orphanage. If his father hadn’t deserted his mother, Riddle would have grown up with two parents and probably would be less evil today. I’m not saying that Tom Riddle Sr. shouldn’t have left Riddle’s mother, I’m just saying that this may be the way Riddle subconsciously looks at it. He despises Muggles because his mother made the wrong choice in seducing one, then she had her heart broken.”
“I had never thought of it that way. I guess you’re right.” Hermione said.
“Thanks. Now what do you really want to say?”
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked.
“I saw the look Harry gave you. He may have changed since Dumbledore’s death, that much is obvious, but he’s still the leader and he wants you to explain to me why you’re here. That’s why he wanted you to sleep in my room.” I may not have personally met them before, but I knew these three as if I had known them for years. Which I have.
“Surely you know why we’re here?”
“I have an idea. Malfoy working for Riddle was just the beginning of his plan. Riddle is finding young witches and wizards before Hogwarts does, and is teaching them the Dark Arts right from the start. To retaliate, you’re doing the same thing. I just don’t know why you need me. I’ve been well informed of the wizarding world, but I really couldn’t possibly think of anything better than whatever your plan is, assuming you have a plan.”
“How do you know that you’re not a witch?” Hermione asked. I drew a sharp breath. That had been my wish ever since I had started reading fantasy books, but I knew that it would never happen.
“Impossible. Harry, before he got his letter, had made strange things happen. He had known himself that he was strange. I know that I’m strange, just not magical strange. I’ve never once made anything odd happen, and believe me, I’ve tried. I’m not a witch, Hermione. I couldn’t be.”
“You can’t be saying that in all the times you read those books, you never once noticed that Harry only lost control when he lost his temper?”
“Of course I noticed, but what does that have to do with anything?” I asked. Sure, I don’t lose my temper as often as Harry Potter does, but I must have at some point in my life. I just can’t remember.
“Well, in all the time we were watching you, you very rarely lost your temper. You were angry and sad at times, but you never went completely mental.” Hermione said, slowly as if she were explaining something complicated.
“No, maybe I didn’t, but I did when I was younger. As a child, I was a terror.” It was true; I remember my love of scissors. I had cut my own hair once when something hadn’t gone my way.
“What did you do when you were unhappy?” Hermione asked, thoughtful.
“I would usually go into a room alone and cut something up.”
“Alone? So there would have been no one around to see anything strange happen?”
“No” I said. I had never been that social, except with my family. The hardest challenges, like controlling my emotions, were always personal struggles and private victories.
“Maybe strange things did happen, and you just didn’t notice.” She wouldn’t give up.
“What makes you so sure that I’m a witch?” I had to keep myself from shouting. I may know her pretty well, but that doesn’t mean that she knows me, even if she has been watching me. “It’s not like you found a paper on Dumbledore’s desk that said ‘Sarah Bouzanis is a witch, but I haven’t accepted her at Hogwarts because she lives over seas’ or something.”
“What we found on Dumbledore’s desk has nothing to do with you being a witch. I’m not sure that you’re a witch, but I think that you are.” Hermione was smiling as if she were remembering an amusing memory.
“Why? And what did you find on Dumbledore’s desk?” I could have thought of millions of more important questions than that, but I wasn’t worried about anything except what Hermione was trying to say.
“I shouldn’t have told you that.” Hermione frowned.
“You sound like Hagrid did when he let slip all that stuff about the Philosopher’s Stone.” That made us both laugh.
“I’ll tell you what we found on Dumbledore’s desk later.” Hermione said, still laughing.
“Sure you will.” I said sarcastically.
“I will!” She said indignantly.
“And Luna Lovegood thinks that the idea of a Crumple Horned Snorkack is preposterous!” I said, again with a little sarcastic flair. Hermione laughed.
“I will tell you what was on his desk, but first I want to tell you why I think you’re a witch.” Hermione continued. “There are two reasons. The first is because you seem like me. When I was your age I rarely lost my temper…”
“Guess that changed.” Harry said from the doorway.
“Shouldn’t you be asleep?” Hermione asked, seeming a little irritated.
“I couldn’t sleep with you two laughing so much.” Harry said. I threw a pillow at him, and he just whizzed it away with his wand.
“Hermione was telling me about the wedding.” I said. I exchanged a look with Hermione. She caught on quickly. “So, Hermione, who were the bridesmaids?” I asked overenthusiastically.
“It was just Gabrielle and…” Hermione glanced sideways at Harry. “…and Ginny.” Harry turned pink.
“What did their dresses look like?” I asked, biting back laughter.
“They were pale gold, which complemented Ginny’s skin and hair beautifully…” Hermione said. Harry turned a little darker.
“Oh, how did she have her hair done?” I asked. Harry’s face turned the gray colour of old porridge. I had to say something. Hermione had begun to describe Ginny’s hair using wonderful adjectives, but I stepped in.
“Hermione, that’s enough. Harry’s starting to look like Vernon did when Harry blew up Marge.” Hermione and I burst out laughing. Harry made a sort of strangled cat noise.
“How did you… Where did you hear… HOW DID YOU KNOW ABOUT GINNY?” Harry screamed. He had finally lost it.
“Harry, I know everything. Rita Skeeter can be very informative.” I said, smiling. Harry took a breath. He spoke slowly, as if weighing every word.
“You’ve been talking to…” He began.
“I’m just kidding. Here.” I threw him my worn out copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. “Educate yourself. Last chapter.” I said simply. I turned back to Hermione as Harry started flipping pages.
“So when you were about my age, you rarely lost your temper…”
“But I once got a B- on a quiz and I was so angry that the ink from the teacher’s marker melted, and where the teacher had once written B-, there was a wet blob.” Hermione said. She smiled.
“So that’s it?”
“Yes. After that, I got my letter from Hogwarts. I was so excited to go.” Hermione’s smile widened.
“So that’s the first reason, and the second one is that you found something on Dumbledore’s desk that made you think I was a witch. What was it?” Hermione wasn’t very good at hiding information.
“Something very similar to what you said. Dumbledore’s desk was a mess when we got in there. We were lucky to be able to search it before McGonagall cleaned it out. Well, he had a lot of parchment piled in untidy stacks on his desk. There was one slip, very small, that seemed important since it was on the top of one of the stacks. It was a list of a few names, and all of them were crossed off except yours. The ink was faded, so it looked old, but we still thought it might be important since we found another piece of parchment under it. This one was dated about a year ago, and it said that you weren’t to be given a letter, and that for further details, to look in the Pensieve. Well, we looked in there, and we saw a memory of Dumbledore writing himself a note, then burning it in the fire.” Hermione paused.
“What did the note say?” I asked.
“It had your name and address on it, and it said to find you when the time was right.” She finished and let her words sink in.
“He planted it there. Dumbledore knew that he might die trying to retrieve the Horcrux, so he put those notes on the top of the pile so that you would know to find me. But why?” I said. I was more thinking out loud than talking to Hermione, but she actually thought I was asking the question.
“I think it’s because…” Hermione started.
“Because Dumbledore wanted you to find me because I would be easy to train since I know so much about your world already, yet I’m new enough to magic for my ideas not to be limited by knowing all the rules and restrictions and impossibilities. Maybe my powers are so weak that I don’t need control, or maybe they’re that strong, or maybe it’s just because I’m good at controlling my emotions, so I’m inadvertently controlling my powers. Dumbledore knew Riddle wouldn’t try to recruit me because I’ve never shown signs of magic before, and he didn’t want me to go to magic school because he wanted to keep my knowledge of magic as it is, untainted by rules!”
“You’re smart, Sarah.” Hermione said.
“That’s what everybody says.” I smiled sadly. I wasn’t bragging, it’s just that at school I’m known as “The Smart One” or “The One Who Reads A Lot”. Everybody always came to me for help, and I rarely had time to do my own work. My teachers had high expectations, my classmates even higher ones. I was expected to know everything. It was nice being respected, but it was sometimes hard to meet expectations.
“You’re not smart because of your grades, whatever they may be. You’re smart because you’re perceptive and optimistic, and you don’t give away more information than you need to.” Hermione looked directly into my eyes as she said this.
“Thank you.” That was when it happened. A sort of understanding passed between us, a bond. At that moment, we completely and totally understood each other.
“How did she know!?!” Way to kill the mood, Harry. I guess he had found the last chapter. I let him take the book for the night. He stormed out of the room muttering under his breath.
“Invasion of privacy… getting into my head… how did she know!?!”
“Congratulations.” Hermione smiled at me.
“For what?” I asked. Hermione nodded towards where Harry had been standing.
“That’s the most emotion anyone’s been able to get out of him for months. He has been endlessly devoted to finding the Horcruxes, as if by finding them Harry could somehow bring him back. After Cedric died, Harry was angry, after Sirius died, Harry got over it quickly, but this is the one that really got to him. He was like Harry’s mentor.” Hermione’s words hung in the air. “That’s why we spent so much time watching you. Ron and I were ready to meet you months ago, but Harry wanted us to keep watching. He wasn’t ready to trust you, like… he… had trusted Snape.” Dumbledore’s death had really bothered Harry, more than it had bothered the entire wizarding world. There was a long, awkward silence.
“Maybe we should at least try to sleep.” I said halfheartedly.
“Sure.” Hermione said solemnly. I reached for the light switch, but Hermione flicked her wand and beat me to it. “Soon you’ll be able to do that too, Sarah.” She said simply, yet her words had more of an impact than she would ever know. It was then that I truly believed it. It filled me like a big balloon swelling inside my chest. It was then that I truly comprehended what had happened. The heroes of Harry Potter were inside my house and they needed my help, oh, and just one other thing. I was a witch.

The alarm clock blared. I rolled over and groaned. I was so tired. I shouldn’t have stayed up so late reading Harry Potter. It had caused me to have strange dreams… I got out of bed and turned on the lights. There was a sleeping bag on the floor and inside it… I bit back a scream. Then I realized that my dream hadn’t been a dream. I tapped Hermione on the shoulder to wake her up. She turned and stared at me bleary eyed.
“I’ll go wake up Harry and Ron.” I said. I walked down the hall, careful not to wake my sister, and softly knocked on the door. Harry opened it to reveal bags under his eyes.
“I’ll wake up Ron.” He said, and then shut the door in my face. I went to the kitchen where my mother was reading the newspaper and my father was making breakfast. I decided that I would wait for my sister, Angela, before I told them. It would be easier to tell them all at once. My mom looked up.
“Why aren’t you in your uniform?” She asked. I was still in my pajamas, with my hair tousled, when usually I dress and brush my hair before having breakfast.
“I don’t think I’m going to school today.” I said casually. I didn’t think I was, anyway.
“Why not?” My mother asked me. I didn’t know what to tell her, so I told her the truth.
“I’ll wait for Angela before I tell you. It’s kind of important.”
“We might be waiting a while.” My dad called out from over the stove. My teenaged sister was infamous for being the slowest one in the morning. I sat nervously at the table. I kept straining my ears to hear the sounds of Angela dressing. I thankfully didn’t hear any talking. Harry, Ron and Hermione knew to be quiet. I finally heard the floorboards creak in the hall. I practically ran out the kitchen to make sure it was Angela, and when I saw it was her, I went to get the others. They had changed and seemed to have showered already. Magic will make getting up much easier in the future. I explained to them as quietly as I could to wait in the hall for me to get them. I thought it was best for me to prepare my family before introducing them to Harry, Ron and Hermione. I walked back to the kitchen.
“Sorry, I had wanted to make sure that I had put my homework in my backpack.” I said. My mother was just as perceptive as I was, unfortunately.
“But I thought that you had said that you’re not going to school today?” She asked, confused.
“Well, I lied about that, but I swear, what I’m going to tell you next is not a lie. Please don’t interrupt me, because I may not continue if I’m stopped.” I took a shaky breath and began. “Last night, after you all went to sleep, I had some visitors. Don’t worry; they aren’t criminals, or anything. Actually, they’re almost the opposite. You see, these people really need my help. If I don’t help them, many innocent people might die, as many have died already. By helping them, I may put you in danger too, and I really wish it weren’t that way, but it is. I feel morally obligated to help these people, as I’m sure you all would if you were in my place. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I’m going to think some more, but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to help them. Now when I tell you who they are, you’re going to think that I’ve been reading too many fantasy books and that they’ve affected my mind or something, so I’m going to introduce them to you first.” I said. It was mostly out. I couldn’t stop now. I went out to the hall and brought each person out one at a time. I started with Hermione because they probably wouldn’t recognize her as well as the boys.
“Mom, Dad, Angela, this is…” I took a breath. “Hermione Granger.” Hermione smiled.
“Nice to meet all of you.” She said. I could tell that she was uncomfortable, but who wouldn’t be?
“This is Ron Weasley.” He walked out and simply nodded his head, his ears bright red. I drew a deep breath. This is the one that’s going to break the stunned silence. My sister was frowning disbelievingly, my dad was frowning in confusion as if he was trying to figure out where he had heard those names before, and my mom, being the business woman she is, was greeting the two nervously. She acted as if the names and appearances were simply a coincidence. I had to say his name. After all, he was the most important one.
“And this is Harry Potter.” The reactions were instantaneous. My sister’s eyebrows flew up, my dad turned red, and my mom paled. Their eyes all flew to me for an explanation. I just shrugged as Harry walked into the room. He greeted as solemnly as ever, and then everyone turned to me, waiting. I offered Hermione, Harry and Ron each a seat, but I remained standing. I slowly explained everything I knew, with help from Ron, Harry and Hermione. When it was over, a palpable silence hung. My father broke it.
“Could you please explain to me what the hell you were talking about?” He asked. He had seen only a few of the movies, and he hadn’t read any of the books. My mom had read each of the books once, yet she didn’t remember much, and my sister, I know for a fact, has been reading the Harry Potter books secretly over the past year. She stole some of them from my room and has been hiding them from me. Together, we all explained to him the short form of the books. When we finished, he just stared into space.
“And I’m supposed to believe all this?” That was all he said.
“I can’t believe it.” Angela said.
“You can’t believe or you won’t believe it?” I asked. I was a stickler for specifics.
“Either way, I need proof.” She wouldn’t believe it unless one of them performed magic right in front of her eyes. I gave a pleading look to Hermione. She took her wand, gave it a flick, and Angela’s empty glass of orange juice tap danced across the table. Angela stared dumbfounded where her glass had been. Now it lay at the other end of the table. “Was that a spell?” That was all Angela said.
“A charm” Hermione corrected.
“So, Sarah, do you mean that before Dumbledore died, he left notes on his desk and a memory in the Pensieve that told these… people… that you’re a witch and that they needed to find you because you see magic differently from them, so they need you to go with them to help them find the Horcruxes and kill He Who Must Not Be Named?” It was an old joke between my mother and me that I wasn’t a true Harry Potter devotee because I didn’t refer to Riddle as He Who Must Not Be Named or as You Know Who.
“In a nut shell.” I said.
“So I guess you’re finally going to get to go to Europe.” My mom joked. My family had always known how much I had wanted to go to Europe, or to pretty much get out of North America. Nothing interesting has really happened in Canada.
“I guess so.”
“But where are we going to get your wand and your magic cloak and all that stuff? And how are we supposed to pay for it? We don’t have wizard dollars or whatever you use.” My dad said.
“Yeah, where is the Canadian version of Diagon Alley?” I asked. It has practically been my life’s goal to stumble upon something magical, and Diagon Alley was at the top of my list, next to Hogwarts.
“It’s at the Bayshore Mall.” Harry said. It was one of the few things he had said during the whole conversation. When everyone looked at him he shrugged. “I asked Fred and George back home, but they wouldn’t tell me how they knew.”
“That would make sense. The Hudson Bay Company is the oldest company in Canada. Of all the people that immigrated to North America at least some of them had to be witches or wizards. The entrance is probably in there.” I said.

Once at Bayshore, Harry led us to the elevator. We filled the entire elevator since we were such a large group. Harry discreetly pulled out his wand and tapped the place on the panel where the next button would have been. I expected us to go up, but instead, we sank below the first floor. When the elevator doors opened, it was like stepping into heaven. People in cloaks were all around. There wasn’t a Flourish and Blotts, or a Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream, but there was a Double, Double, Boil, and Trouble Apothecary, a Light as a Feather Owlery, and a Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes (Fred and George must have branched out), but best of all, there was a Spellbound bookstore.
Stepping into Spellbound was like stepping back into civilization after being stranded in the jungle. There were more books than I had read in my entire life (and that’s saying something!). There were shelves stacked three books deep, books clad in velvet, books that seemed very small but if picked up they were very heavy, but my favourite part was that each and every single book in that store was long. I could have spent all day there just trying to decide which books to buy, but Hermione had to drag me away from the history section so that we could go buy ingredients at the apothecary.
“I know the Middle Ages were fascinating, especially from a magical point of view, but we need to buy other things too. Parchment, quills, and ink are up next.” Hermione said, trying to stop my protests. “After that, we can buy a wand.” That shut me up. I really wanted a wand, more than anything in the world. Well, not anything in the world, but more than most things.
“Where will we get it?” I asked. “After Ollivander vanished, who’s the best?”
“Virga is the best now.” Hermione said.

We stepped into Virga’s Wand Shop and immediately I could feel the power emanating from the small boxes covering the shelves and walls. To think, I was going to own one of these. A wand was the most important magical tool out there. A wand was the one thing that could save a cornered witch and make her a triumphant witch. The hushed silence in the shop was the only thing that kept me from singing aloud: I’m getting a wand! I’m getting a wand!
Harry rang a bell on the desk in front of us and a tall witch stepped out from behind a shelf. She gave a cheery smile.
“Ah, who’s this? Have you broken your first wand or are you picking up your first?” The witch, whom I could only assume to be Virga, shifted her gaze from my face to Harry’s. “Well, well. What can I get you Mr. Potter? My goodness the ‘Chosen One’ in my shop! I can’t believe it! What do you need?” Virga seemed very flustered. Her face was a little flushed. There was a little pink in Harry’s cheeks.
“We need a wand for Sarah here.” Hermione said, gesturing towards me. It took Virga a moment to realize that someone other than Harry had said something.
“Yes, yes of course. I’ll need to take your measurements, then. Where did I leave that darn tape measure?” Virga whipped out her wand and gave in a few waves. A tape measure sped around the corner of a shelf. It started to whip around seemingly random places. It went around my head; it measured the size of my left ear, the length of my leg, the width of my foot. It did this all very quickly while Virga stood off to the side and wrote down measurements with a slightly ruffled quill. Finally the tape measure crumpled onto the floor. “Well, now we need a wand, I guess. Hmmm…” Virga said as she strolled between the shelves. “Yes, here try this one. Thirty three centimeters, willow, and contains a dragon heartstring.” A dragon heartstring? So I had to wave around a piece of a dead dragon? A dragon? As in the beautiful, ferocious, graceful and fierce creatures that were slaughtered for their blood, hide, and heartstrings? Ewww. I took the wand Virga held out to me tentatively. I held it just barely with the tips of my fingers. I gave it a slight twitch. A book fell off of Virga’s desk. “I guess that won’t do.” She said simply. She walked once more between the dusty stacks. She picked a box up. This one was slightly shorter.
“It’s not dragon heartstring, is it?” I asked.
“No, Veela hair. Thirty centimeters and oak.” A Veela hair. That’s not much better than a dragon heartstring. Veela were all blond, blue eyed, and fair skinned. They were seen as the face of beauty. I say that to be beautiful you don’t need to be blond, blue-eyed, or fair skinned. I took the wand and gave a little wave. Harry’s glasses fell off.
I tried more and more wands. Oak, willow, elm, spruce, pine, every type of wood that exists! And the magical cores! More Veela hair, unicorn tail hairs, phoenix feathers! In reality I had only tried seven wands so far, but I was beginning to get a little frustrated. Actually, I was very frustrated. Then Virga walked over to a shelf that she hadn’t even gone near yet. She stared at it a moment, then picked up a box that was high on the top of the shelf. “You seem to be a rare customer, so I’ll try a rare wand.” Virga said. “Thirty seven centimeters, cherry, and a Thestral tail hair.” I gaped at Virga’s words. I had never heard of the hair of a flying, horse-type creature that is only visible if you have seen someone die being used in a wand. Hermione gasped. I took the wand offered to me. I waved it and confetti burst out of the tip. My family gasped. Harry looked skeptical, Ron looked indifferent, but Hermione was shocked.
“That wand it is, then.” Virga said. We paid her and took the wand. When we finally arrived home, my parents wanted me to put everything away, but the only thing that I didn’t dump on the kitchen table was my wand. I took it out of the box and practically ran to my room with it. I turned off the lights, shut the blinds, and tried the simplest spell I could think of.
“Lumos!” I cried. Nothing happened. I tried again. Still nothing. I tried once more. “Lumos!” I almost shouted. It worked! It worked! A small light appeared at the end of my wand. I now had the magical abilities of a flashlight. “Nox!” I said. The light went out. I could do magic! I really was a witch! I heard a knock at my door. I opened it to find Hermione there. As soon as she saw my excited face she knew.
“So it worked. I could hear you shouting the incantation from the hallway.” She said. I blushed. Then I laughed. “Show me.” Hermione asked. I did. I showed her again and again and again. “Want to learn something else?” Hermione took her wand out and began to explain. “I wouldn’t teach you this as one of your first charms, but I think it’s really important. Especially now. I would ask Harry to teach you, since he’s better at it than I am, but he’s reading the book you gave him. Here we go. This is a Shield Charm. The incantation is...”
“Protego” I cut Hermione off. I remembered.
“Right. But you have to imagine that something is protecting you, and you have to really want it to happen.” Hermione lectured. I nodded. I knew that already. Every book of magic I had ever read all said the same thing: magic isn’t just waving a wand and saying funny words. You have to want it. I held my wand out in front of myself. I made myself imagine an invisible barrier in front of me. I also pictured a Death Eater behind it, firing curses at me. I felt fear creep into my heart.
“Protego!” I shouted. The shield was supposed to be invisible, so how was I supposed to know if it had worked? I felt power around me, but that might just be my imagination. Hermione answered my question by firing a silent curse at me. It bounced off my Shield Charm!
“It worked! It worked the first time, too!” I was so excited. I had never been to magic school, yet I already knew two spells! “Can I try something else now?” I asked. Hermione regarded me for a moment.
“How did you get so good?” She asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve known the incantation for a long time, and the imagining is easy. It’s not like this is new to me, it’s just that I’ve done the theory and now I’m trying the charm.” I didn’t think I was that great. If Harry Potter can do a perfect Patronus at thirteen, then I can do a Shield Charm at the same age.
“I guess if you look at it that way… But that was really strong for a first try. Try it silently.” That would be hard. To do a sixth year exercise… I would need to want it more than anything. I had to pretend, I had to imagine something horrifying. Something terrifying. I needed to imagine my worst fear. But what was it? Where is a Boggart when you need one? I had to try. I did it. I mean, Hermione’s jinx shattered it and I ended up with my legs locked together, but at least there had been something there to shatter!
“So you could do a nonverbal charm on your second day of being a witch. Amazing! Try doing a few other things. Anything that comes to mind. First try it verbally, then silently. I want to know where your talents lie. Go ahead.” Hermione just let me do whatever came to mind. She corrected me a few times, and played as my guinea pig for the jinxes and that sort of thing. I could do most of the ones I tried, but I could only do the easiest ones nonverbally. Finally, I felt like taking a break. It was almost dinner anyways.
“Hermione?” I asked. I had a question that had been bugging me almost all day. “Why were you so shocked that my wand has a Thestral hair in it? I know it’s rare, but if it were unheard of, then the store wouldn’t stock them. What’s the story behind it?”
“Thestral wands are really powerful, and it’s just that the reason Thestral wands are so rare is because it is difficult to get a hair from a Thestral. They don’t like hairs being pulled out of their tails. Most wand makers only take one hair from each Thestral. Thestrals tend to flock towards the wizards or witches who have their tail hairs in their wand. To have a Thestral wand and a tame Thestral on your side is to be a powerful person. I was so shocked because often people with Thestral wands grow drunk from the power. Now wand makers are very careful of whom they give Thestral wands to, to prevent power hungry wizards and witches from doing too much damage.” Hermione said solemnly. That was scary. One of my worst fears was to be power hungry. I always wanted to be able to control myself and my actions. I was afraid of making bad decisions for myself. I was afraid of hurting myself or my family. I would have to be careful. The wand went from being something extraordinary to something dangerous. This wand scared me.

After dinner I went to go find Hermione because I had come across something in one of my magic books that I wanted to ask her about. I walked down the hall to the guestroom, thinking she might be there. As I approached it I heard hushed voices.
“But she’s just a little girl. She’ll be more of a hindrance than a help.” Harry said. A little girl? Me?
“I agree with Harry. How are we supposed to do anything with her along?” Ron asked.
“Sarah may be only thirteen, but she just did a silent Shield Charm on her first try. It may have been weak, but it’ll get stronger with practice. She’ll learn fast. Do you think it’s easy for her, us showing up in the middle of the night, when for the past thirteen years she had thought we were fiction? Do you think it’s easy for her to know that she’s going to be taken away from her family, dragged halfway around the world, and be put into serious danger? Do you think it’s easy for her to have her heroes neglect her?” Hermione said, her voice rising in volume. “Sarah’s only thirteen, but she’s more mature than any of us were at her age. She’s perceptive, she’s optimistic, she has common sense. Harry, you of all people shouldn’t be saying that her age is a factor. Sarah’s two years older than you were when you fought Voldemort for the Philosopher’s Stone, she’s a year older than you were when you fought Riddle and killed the Basilisk, and she’s the same age you were when you could do a perfect Patronus and when you survived an encounter with a werewolf. You don’t know any of these things because you two have barely said a word to her. I’ve talked to her and I respect her. Maybe if you just had a conversation with her you would understand what I’m saying. Or try to teach her a spell. She’ll get it right, and then ask for another. Sarah’s a great person, not a child, a person.” A ringing silence followed her words. If there was ever a time to interrupt, it was now. I knocked on the door. Hermione answered, her face flushed.
“Sarah, let’s go to your room and let the boys think some stuff over.” She said. We went back to my room and Hermione had me practice silent Summoning Charms. Soon the air was filled with random objects flying towards me. I was just about to catch a pillow when there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find Harry waiting behind it.
“Sarah, you’re practicing right now, aren’t you?” He asked awkwardly. I nodded. He continued. “Has Hermione taught you a Disarming Charm yet?”
“No, not yet.” I said. I was waiting.
“Well, could I come in and maybe show you?” There it was. I took it as an apology.
“Sure. Hermione, do you mind?” I asked her to be polite. Hermione beamed and shook her head. Harry and I stood opposite each other. He was just teaching me the charm, not proper dueling, so there was no bowing or any of those things.
“The incantation is…” Harry started, but then he stopped. “You know the incantation already, don’t you?”
“I’ve known the word Expelliarmus since I was seven years old.” I told him. He nodded.
“Go ahead. I want to see if you can do it before we work on speed, so I’m not going to try to counter it.” He explained. I nodded. That made sense enough, but I knew I could do this one. It only required wanting, and the incantation. “On three then? One, two, three.” I surprised Harry by trying it silently. His wand dropped to the ground. Sure, the charm didn’t tackle Harry, but it worked. If he was impressed, he didn’t show it. He gave me some pointers and demonstrated a few times, until I got it perfectly. He then taught me Stupefy, Impedimenta, and Reducto. I had gotten the basic Defense Against the Dark Arts training, and could now do all the spells he had taught me verbally and silently. There was one curse he hadn’t taught me, and I wanted to try it out. I asked Harry if we could duel.
“Duel?” He repeated. “Okay, I guess so, if you want to.” He shrugged. I knew he was going to slow up for me, and do all the spells verbally. It was okay. The curse I wanted to try was going to be silent. We stood across the room from each other. We bowed. I could almost hear him count to three before doing his curse. I counted with him, and as he moved his wand I moved mine.
“Stupefy!” He yelled. At the same exact moment, I thought in my mind Levicorpus! I dodged the jet of red sparks from Harry’s wand as his ankles were hoisted into the air.
“I forgot that you knew that one.” He muttered as I completed the counter-curse. He toppled to the floor.
“That’s the only Prince curse I would ever use.” I was referring to the Half-Blood Prince. “The only other one I know is too terrible to use.” Harry knew exactly which curse I meant. He had used it himself, not knowing what it would do, and it had almost cost him his wand. Harry nodded at my words. He looked as if he were about to say something, but then he closed his mouth.
“I want to show something to you.” I said. I went into my closet to get my journal. I had just walked into it when a heard someone Apparate right into my bedroom. I turned around abruptly and saw that my closet door was only open a crack. I moved silently and heard a voice that I knew instantly, even if I had never heard it before. With every word he spoke my heart beat a little bit faster, my blood grew a little bit hotter, and my hate grew much, much fiercer. I looked through the crack to see him, the slime ball.
“Well, well, well, what an odd place to find the great Harry Potter. A Muggle home? Interesting.” Snape’s voice dripped with evil and malice. “Why, pretell, do we find our hero here, of all places?” Snape’s eyes grew dark, and Harry’s grew wide. Snape was using Legilimency. He would soon know that I was just behind this closet door. Better to stand up and greet the challenge than to go down hiding. I opened the door and it creaked, breaking Snape’s concentration. He looked at me and smiled a repulsive, spiteful grin. I had not been able to practice Occlumency yet, but I was sure I could do it, after years of teaching myself to meditate. I envisioned a barrier around my mind and within that barrier was emptiness. No thoughts or emotions, just space. I could feel Snape’s mind digging into mine, but he barely scratched the surface of my wall.
“Who could this young girl be? She is no student at Hogwarts, and there are no wizardry schools in North America, yet her knowledge of Occlumency surpasses that of Harry Potter’s. How curious. Girl, tell me your name.” Snape commanded. If I remained silent he would use the Imperious curse on me. I doubt that I could use Occlumency and repel the Imperious curse at the same time.
“You may not know me, but I know you quite well, Severus Snape.” I kept my eyes locked with his. I would not yield to my fear. I would not surrender to his game. I play with my own rules.
“So you seem to. I wonder where your weaknesses lie. But first I wish to know your name. Why won’t you tell me?” Snape would not lure me into his trap. He would have to use the Imperious curse on me, but not yet. Before he could raise his wand I spoke.
“You may not know my weaknesses, but I know yours, Snivellus.” I knew his old school nickname would cut deeply. It broke his calm exterior.
“How dare you call me that, filthy Mudblood! Imperio!” Snape cried. He couldn’t attack me with Legilimancy at the same time. I felt like I was floating through space. I heard a voice in my mind.
Tell me who you are… it said.
I don’t want to. Another, stronger voice said.
Tell me who you are…
Nope, I won’t do it. I’m keeping my identity to myself.
Tell me who you are! The voice was becoming frustrated.
I don’t think so. That voice stayed calm.
TELL ME! It shouted in my mind.
You can’t make me.
“TELL ME WHO YOU ARE!!!” Snape shouted for real this time. The Imperious curse lifted.
“Jeez, don’t have a heart attack.” I said, still calm. Snape’s shout had brought Ron and Hermione into my room. They must have advised my family not to come in. Harry, Ron, and Hermione made as if they were going to intervene, but I gave them a look that stopped them. Snape had challenged me. This was a fair fight, and it would remain a fair fight, on my part, anyways. “I’ll tell you my name if you ask nicely.” I said. The game had turned in my favour. I could see Snape thinking. He gave it all away with a twitch of his wand. After I saw that I had a plan. I inconspicuously slipped my hand into my pocket. I felt for the compact mirror that I had slipped in there after I had done my make-up. I hid it in the palm of my hand. I knew that my Shield Charm would never be strong enough to repel an Unforgivable Curse.
“You must be very strong to be able to resist the Imperious Curse.” He said simply.
“It’s not me as much as my wand. It has a Thestral hair in it.” I said, hoping to intimidate him.
“I wonder how strong your mind is. Perhaps I can break it.” He knew that I knew what he meant. I raised the hand with the mirror in it to my heart as if in fear.
“Break my mind?” I put fear in my words and my eyes. Snape sneered.
“Yes. Your mind could snap like a twig with a single curse. Crucio!” Several things happened at once. I opened my compact with a flash as Snape whipped his wand out. The jet of green light from his curse hit my mirror, shattered it, and reflected onto the ceiling where it burnt a hole there. I dropped the broken mirror. I sent a silent Disarming Charm at Snape while he was distracted by the failure of his own spell. His wand flew out of his hand and Harry caught it. Before Snape could Disapparate I Stunned him. He fell on the floor, as rigid as a board. I looked up. Harry locked eyes with me. Just as an understanding had passed between Hermione and me, an understanding now passed between Harry and me.
“Good job.” He said.
“Thank you.” I said. Hermione beamed. Ron was still staring at Snape’s frozen expression.
“Bloody hell, Sarah, you’re good.” Ron looked at me with amazement in his eyes.
“Thanks. I guess I just made my first arch-enemy.” I said.
“Welcome to my life.” Harry said.

The next day I went back to school. The day after that was to be my last at Elmwood. After that I would be a full-time witch, and I would soon be going to England to help Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
I told all my friends that I would be going to study abroad in Europe. It was partly true. My teachers stopped giving me work in class and let me read for most of that day. I was combing the Harry Potter books for hints of where to find Riddle, or his Horcruxes. I was making a list of possible places. I was also looking for people with the initials R.A.B. I could find very few, but I was also making a list of people who could have used R.A.B as a false signature. If any of my friends had seen my list, they said nothing. They just assumed it was another one of those things I did because I loved the Harry potter books. Anyways, I was very preoccupied. To go to and from school that day my parents had driven me, instead of me taking the carpool as usual. They wanted to spend as much time as possible with me before I left.
On my last day of school Harry, Ron, and Hermione also came. They wanted to see my school for some reason. They made and took some Polyjuice Potion to look like my sister and my parents, while my real sister was at school and my parents had walked to a Starbucks nearby. I arrived about ten minutes before my first class. I spent those ten minutes giving Harry, Ron, and Hermione a quick tour of the school. When I walked into my first class I saw all my teachers and the whole seventh grade standing there. There was a banner behind them that said “We’ll Miss You Sarah!” They had thrown a going away party for me. That was so sweet.
Everyone took turns saying things like “Sarah, thank you for helping me in Math.”. A few of my closest friends had written poems in honor of my hobby of writing poetry. One of my friends had done an acrostic poem, and for the ‘H’ in my name, and she had said something very ironic.
“Harry Potter will never seem the same after knowing you, Sarah.” My friend said. Everybody laughed. Harry (who at the time looked like my dad) turned beat red. Hermione walked over to me.
“Sarah, the Polyjuice Potion is going to start wearing off soon.” She whispered. “We’ll be in the car.” I nodded.
The presentations were over. Everyone in seventh grade and all my teachers had said something. Some people said very heartfelt things, others said humorous things, and some people had said things with very little feeling behind them. But one of my favourite teachers, who had already said something, drew everyone’s attention.
“Sarah, being the writer and wonderfully articulate person you are, you must have something to say?” My teacher said. The reason I had said very few words before was because during goodbyes I get very emotional. At the end of camp each year I cry as if it’s the end of the world. At the end of sad movies I cry, at the end of books I cry. I pretty much cry at the end of everything. But everybody was looking at me expectantly. I stood up and walked to the front of the class. I took a breath. My face felt hot and I felt my eyes burn.
“I have been at this school for almost eight years. I’ve had friends come, and friends go, but I have stayed here, never realizing that one day I would be leaving too. I’ve known some of you for all those eight years, and some of you I have just had the pleasure of meeting this year. Whether I’ve known you for almost eight years or almost eight months, I hope that you know this. You are what make coming to school bearable. If I have a huge test that I’m worried about, it’s you people that ease the stress. If I’m feeling sad about something, it’s you that cheer me up. If none of you were at this school, then my life would be an unhappy one. It would be one without friends, there fore it would be a lonely life. It would be a life without teachers, there fore without learning or knowledge, and you all know how important knowledge is to me.
“I want you to know, whether you’re my best friend, or if we barely know each other, I want you to know that I really appreciate how you’ve treated me. I don’t know one person in this room that hasn’t treated me with respect. I don’t know one person in this room that I don’t respect. Each of you has something special to offer to this world, whether it be something you practice at school or something that you haven’t discovered yet. When I look at each of you I see something different. But in every single one of you I see a good person. I hope that if I have changed your lives at all that I have changed them in a positive way. If I have taught you anything at all, I hope that I have taught you to pursue your talents, to work hard, to make good choices, and most of all I hope that I have taught you to be an individual.
“When I would see my friends change schools, or move away, I would feel as if they were leaving me behind. I hope you know that I’m not leaving you behind. I’ve reached the end of my journey through Elmwood. I may traverse this road once again, but for now, I stand at the beginning of a new path. I can’t see the end of this path, nor where it will take me, but I must travel it. I’ll be back to visit you. After all, the friendships I’ve made here are ones that will never be broken. Whether I see you again or not, I will think of you again. I hope that you will think of me. If there is one regret I have, it’s that we didn’t have more time together.” By now tears were falling thick and fast. Soon I would lose the ability of speech. No one was speaking. I looked out into my audience and saw faces. Each face was locked on mine. A few of them were shining with tears also. I walked through the crowd to get a tissue to dry my eyes.
By the time I had stopped crying there was chatter among my friends and teachers once again. I walked through the crowd to find four people. The first was Anuja. She had been one of my best friends as long as I had known her. The second was Irena. She had been my faithful friend as long as I had been at Elmwood. The third was Alexandra, who I had only met this year, yet she was already a close friend, and had read Harry Potter about the same amount of times as I have. The last was Lucy. How can one describe Lucy? I had met her this year, hated her at first, yet now we were close friends and friendly rivals. We carpooled together, and so we knew each other back to front, and we weren’t afraid to tell each other the truth. She knew Harry Potter very well, and would be very appalled if I didn’t tell her.
I led my four friends out to the car. I told them to close their eyes. I opened the door of the car and ushered Harry, Hermione, and Ron out of the car. The Polyjuice Potion had worn off by now. I faced my friends.
“I want to introduce you to the people who are taking me to Europe. You are not going to believe who they are, but you are forbidden to tell anyone who they are. If you don’t think that you can keep an important secret, then turn around, walk away, and don’t look back. I’m being dead serious. I don’t think I’ve ever been more serious in my life.” I told them. They still had their eyes closed, yet they seemed confused. I gave them a moment, but none of them walked away. “Okay then, open your eyes.”
I got mixed results. Anuja and Irena didn’t seem to make the connection at first, but Lucy and Alexandra did. Lucy gasped and smiled. Alexandra gaped and started shaking her head. Anuja and Irena were confused by their reactions. I decided to help them out.
“Everyone, this is Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter. And no, I’m not joking.”
“It can’t be true. It’s impossible. They don’t exist.” Alexandra said.
“Sarah, whoever your look-alikes are, they are very convincing.” Anuja said. Irena was silent, but she had always been shy.
“Sarah, why are they in Canada? And why are they taking you to Europe? What kind of contest did you win?” Of course Lucy believed me. I knew she would. She just isn’t taking it seriously.
“Alex, they do exist, and they are standing right here. Anuja, they aren’t look-alikes, they’re the real thing. Lucy, I didn’t win a contest, and please, for once in your life, take something seriously!” I dropped my voice down to a whisper. “Long story short, I’m a witch, and I’m going to help them find the Horcruxes and help them fight Riddle, or as you would know him, Voldemort. Lucy, I forbid you to ever call him Voldy again, because if he is only half as bad as Snape, then he still would kill you on the spot just for saying that.” Lucy’s nickname for Voldemort had been annoying me forever.
“Wait, Sarah, did you say you’re a witch? Does that mean that you have a wand?” Lucy asked excitedly.
“Yes, I am a witch, and I do have a wand, but no, I’m not going to let you try a spell with it. Someone might see, and you might hurt someone with it.” I explained slowly.
“Sarah, what’s a Horcrux?” Anuja asked. I had forgotten that she and Irena didn’t know.
“More or less, it’s a piece of his soul that’s attached to an object, and he can never truly die until all of them are destroyed.”
“Sarah, can we see your wand?” Irena asked. Since it was the first thing she had said, I obliged. I didn’t let anyone touch it though. I didn’t want them to try a spell and end up hurting someone.

The next day Harry, Hermione, Ron and I had been out all day at Bayshore, picking up some last minute things since we were leaving tomorrow. When we got back nobody was there. Angela was probably with her friends, and Mom and Dad might be anywhere, though it struck me as odd that they were out on my last day home. I walked in and dumped my purchases on the kitchen table. I saw that there were messages on the phone. I began to play them. The first one clicked on.
“Hi, sorry to bother you, but it’s Todd Holden, Lucy’s father, and I was wondering if you knew where she was. She didn’t come home from school today and we’re really worried, so if you could phone us as soon as you get this message, we’d really appreciate the help.” Lucy, missing? It’s not like her to not come home without telling her parents. The second message played.
“Hello, it’s Anuja’s mom calling. I was wondering if you had seen her… She’s missing, but she said something last night about Sarah going away and having big news, so maybe she’s with you. Please call us back.” Anuja’s missing too?
“Hello, this is Irena’s mother. Have you seen her lately? She’s missing and …”
“Hi, this is Alexandra’s parents calling and we were really hoping that you had seen Alex…” All my friends were missing? How strange. Only my friends who knew the truth were missing too…
“Sarah, come quickly!” Ron’s voice sounded from down the hall. I ran to the coat closet where we had been keeping Snape, Stunned and tied up for good measure, until we decided what to do with him. Harry, Hermione and Ron were all standing around the closet. I looked inside. It was empty!
“Where’s Snape!?!” I asked. I was hysterical. All my friends gone and Snape was missing too…
“We don’t know, but he left a note. You might want to read it, Sarah. Brace yourself.” Hermione handed me a yellow piece of paper.

You should never have gotten Muggles involved. You have one chance to save your friends and your family. Join us and they will be released. Until then…


This was an all time low. Even for a Death Eater. He was going to get it now. He had underestimated me, and he will pay for it. I will not rest until my family is safe and I have dealt with Snape. Blood roared in my ears. I crushed the note in my hand. The lights flickered.
“Break my mind? Never. It is I who will break yours, Snivellus.”

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