a/n: I do not own Harry Potter copyrights.
I'd like to say that I'd died in a flashy, dramatic way; but unfortunately that's not true. There were no fiery explosions or head on collisions, no terrorist bombings or botched kidnappings. In reality I died in a boring, it could happen to anyone kind of way. It only took a broken pipe to kill me; it was gas that lulled me into that final sleep.
I was alone that night, (thank God) house sitting for my parents while they enjoyed a night out. My siblings were all off to college and the animals had already been let outside. Well not all of the animals, we had a goldfish in his bowl on the kitchen counter. Poor Bubbles; who would have guessed that we'd share our end?
Like I said earlier, the actual dying process was pretty dull. One minute I was there, sitting in my bed registering a strange smell, and then, faster than I could blink, I just wasn't. I was suddenly not in my room anymore, though I was also not anywhere I'd expected to go either.
My warm blankets had melted into constricting flesh and blood, the very air had morphed into heavy fluids. It had taken awhile to truly realize what was happening, but when I had understood I had been disgusted. Of course it had been only a matter of time before the walls had tightened and launched me forward; onward with a veritable slippery slide's worth of those fluids.
That was when my disgust had all but disappeared, it was only horror that I felt then.
What had waited for me at the end of that tunnel was something I'd had the pleasure of not remembering the first time around, my wet, sloppy, and disgusting birth. Even now, years after this experience, I shudder at the memory.
If I hadn't been in a similar situation to a watermelon shoved down a straw, I think I would have thrown up back then. That would've been an interesting experience for my mother.
I doubt I was the picture perfect child when those horrible walls threw me out into the world; it was a birth after all, not one of those ridiculously clean movie scenes. Like every other child on the planet I came out bloody and screaming, because even though I possessed an adult mind, I will freely admit that birth hurt.
It was strangely dark the day I had been born, even to my blurry baby eyes. At the time it confused me, especially when my very first memory was that of a little boy, desperately trying to quiet me. I hadn't understood it, babies were meant to cry, it was a sign that they were healthy; why did he look so afraid? That look, that fear, was on every face I saw that first day, from the boy's to my mothers, to a horribly tired man I could only assume was my father. It was a day that stretched until it covered months, years.
It was a sad day when a child couldn't laugh, couldn't cry, had to play in silence. My brother, the boy who had quieted me on the first day, tried to make it fun but I could see the fear in his eyes. It was even worse when there was noise, because those were the days when scary men in masks swooped in and scattered the hiding masses like pigeons in a park. Panic, people fleeing in every direction, some falling under stomping feet and flashes of green light; those nights haunt me still, I hear the screams in my nightmares.
When the men had left and the survivors regrouped, we'd troop as one to the nearest barn or cave, another place of shelter that could only last so long.
There were hundreds of us, scavenging in the backs of fields at night and cowering in our dark place during the day. There were days when some of us disappeared hours before the rest of us would get up for the night, before stumbling in with horrible bruises ages after we had returned. It was confusing for me, a mystery that I would have loved to have solved, but you must remember that I was a child, a baby, I couldn't have done anything even if I had wanted to.
Besides, there was another mystery that did solve itself eventually, the mystery of how I had gone from falling asleep in a gas leak to being born in a barn (as that is where I had discovered we'd been). Well, no actually that's a lie too; the mystery I solved was not how I got there so much as it was where I had ended up.
For about 6 months after my 2nd birthday a man burst into our newest barn, throwing showers of light down on all of our cringing forms. "Get up!" He had cried, running straight to my father and hauling him to his feet. "The dark lord is dead! Hail Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived!"
Now that I think back on it, it actually made sense; the hiding, the scavenging, the masked men, the fear. I had been born into a group of people fleeing from a serial killer, afraid that at any moment their loved ones would be killed. I could see why they had rejoiced and cheered at the news; I could understand why so many faces lit up with relief.
Still, it probably seemed rather strange for the leader's two year old daughter to choose that moment to collapse, to faint just when the celebrations were starting.
They blamed it on the excitement, but after that I was regarded as a weak willed child who was incredibly fragile and vulnerable. This was probably the most annoying aspect of my new life; I hated being treated like I would break at the drop of a hat.
My new life did get easier after that though, but at the same time it also got stranger. It turned out that my family was a magical circus, famous in both the magical and muggle worlds for making real magic seem like the fake muggle kind. During the war many of us had been hunted because of our reliance on muggle business, and like animals we had abandoned our tents and fled in terror.
I had been born not long after that, torn out of my old life to make a new one here in this world. Julia Cynthia Whitman, that was my name here. I was just the daughter of a harassed ringleader who was fortunate enough to be born only a few years before a time of peace.
I wondered what their reaction would be if they could only know what I knew, the precious information I had leisurely read in another life. Just the notion made me cringe; I would never be left alone if they found out who I was. The Ministry (who hated my family because of how close we came to revealing magic to muggles but could never seem to find enough evidence to shut us down) would probably react to me in the same way they eventually reacted to Harry.
They'd call me a liar and a lunatic in front of the entire wizarding community; they would shut down the circus on the grounds that it was making me unstable. Then later, when Voldemort rose again, they would suddenly become my best buddy as they pleaded for the future.
There was another side to consider too, as one should never forget that the book had two sides, not just one. The Death Eaters, the masked men. They, I had no doubt, would kill for the stuff I knew, and of course by 'kill' I am speaking quite literally. Rather than just shut them down, my entire family would be eliminated if I didn't cooperate, and, after I had told them what they wanted to know, I would be killed as well simply for knowing too much.
They both sounded like amazing options, (heavy, heavy sarcasm here), but I'd rather take my chances with staying quiet. Besides, who knew? Maybe if I blabbed about what I knew something in the universe would unravel and everyone would die anyway.
That's exactly why when I did end up in Hogwarts, (It was to be expected, I was born into a wizarding family and couldn't exactly say I didn't want to go because I had to avoid Harry Potter. I mean come on, everyone already thought I was weird.) and when I did sit with the sorting hat on my head; I told it firmly that I wanted to be placed in Hufflepuff.
This was because, as far as I could tell and excluding Cedric Diggory, Hufflepuff was the least important of all the houses. The hat actually didn't argue that much, though it did tell me I was a bit too crudely observant to fit in without a bit of effort. I was welcomed to my new house with much cheer just like everyone else (I took great lengths to not sit next to Cedric, much to his confusion), and my life at Hogwarts continued without a hitch.
I was basically a wallflower, keeping my grades at average and gathering only casual friends. I paid no mind to anyone who had played a part (no matter how brief) in the books I had once loved so much. If they talked to me, I tried my best to keep the conversations to a minimal.
The Weasley twins (who were in my year) and the famous Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff were pretty much all my original 'must avoid' list covered. However time did go on and eventually Harry Potter and his friends did come to Hogwarts. Their names, along with many others, were added to the growing parchment.
Living through the first few years may sound easy but trust me when I say that it most definitely was not. Once my third year rolled around and the famous Harry Potter became a Gryffindor, well, let's just say that things started to become more interesting.
For starters, I knew what Quirrell was, and he was one of those that I literally couldn't avoid. He was my teacher! I was legally required to spend hours at a time with the guy! It made me jumpy and nervous, enough so that rumors even began to spread. I told everybody that his turban just creeped me out, but I'm not entirely sure they believed me.
The next year was better, though Lockhart annoyed the hell out of me. I was a little bit nervous of being petrified to tell the truth (the circus kind of made me a blood traitor), but thankfully the worst part of that year was nothing more than a detention signing autographs with Lockhart. I had 'accidentally' practiced my water to wine spell on his hair gel.
In my fifth year I of course added Sirius Black to my list and tried my best to avoid certain places in Hogsmeade. Even so, that year still turned out to be harder than I thought. The reason behind that? Dementors, plain and simple, and more specifically? The memories they forced me to relive.
As the most horrific thing I had experienced up until that point was my own birth, not to mention those nights of chaos and panic, you could probably guess why I hated having the dementors around.
I didn't go to the Quidditch Cup that summer, though both my father and brother tried their very hardest to convince me otherwise. This, along with a few other events (such as Diagon Alley when the Potter gang was there), was just another thing I just had to avoid. It was a shame, I actually liked Quidditch, I just hadn't tried out because of how tied in it was to the books.
If only I could have gone to the Quidditch Cup without witnessing a Death Eater attack. As it was, I listened on the radio.
My life in the Harry Potter world actually wasn't all that bad. All I had to do was stay out of the way and try to not attract unnecessary attention. The people I avoided didn't seek me out or generally notice me at all. Something that was fine by me. I planned to live a peaceful existence, living out my days until I could discover why I had ended up here in the first place.
It would have all been just fine if the ones on my 'must avoid' list had not suddenly decided they didn't like their lot in life, had not suddenly made it impossible not to notice them.
The problem? Well, starting in the beginning of my sixth year, that's exactly what they did. So much for not getting involved.