Alexis went into the movie theater bathroom after watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. She looked at her face in the mirror. Tear stains mixed with mascara covered her face. Alexis pulled out a tissue, poured some water on it, and wiped away the salty tears.
Alexis wasn't the only person who had cried their eyes out during Snape's memories or when Harry died. Still, it had been years since Alexis had cried during a movie.
The bathroom door opened.
"Lexie! It's time to go!" said her mother impatiently.
"Coming mom," Alexis replied.
She took one last glance at her slightly puffy face. Shrugging, she followed her mom out of the bathroom. Alexis linked her arm with her mom just as they'd always done since she was a child, and they continued out to the parking lot.
They met up with her dad in the parking lot and together they got in the car and started to drive home. Alexis vaguely listened to her parents as they chatted. About what exactly, she wasn't paying enough attention to tell.
As the car sped along the road, Alexis leaned her head back against the headrest and glanced out the window. She caught sight of her reflection in the glass, and she rolled her green eyes at the traces of black eye makeup that was still slightly visible on her cheeks. It was a stupid idea to wear mascara and eyeliner to a movie that she knew was guaranteed to make her cry. But she had done it anyway.
The buildings that they had been driving past gave way to open fields. Silver light spilled onto the grass, bushes, and trees, making appear like the landscape had been doused with silver paint. Looking past her reflection, Alexis watched the constellations, tracing the shapes with her eyes until she came to Polaris, the North Star. Gaze fixed on the Northern Star, she made a wish.
I wish to be in the world of Harry Potter, and to be one of his friends.
Every year it was the same, ever since she was a small child, Alexis would make that wish upon Polaris, her favorite star. She had always known that Harry did not really exist, nor did Sirius, or McGonagall, or Snape. However, that never stopped her from experiencing that sense of longing that she felt whenever picked up one of the books, or pressed play to one of the movies. She couldn't help it.
"So did you enjoy the film, princess?" asked her father.
Alexis smiled softly, staring out the car window as she replied, "I loved it! It was perfect."
Her father laughed a deep, booming laugh that resonated in Alexis's chest. "You and your Harry Potter stories! I'll never understand it," he chuckled, shaking his head.
"That's 'cause you're a Muggle," Alexis teased, smirking.
"So, since you two understand and appreciate the Harry Potter stories, does that make you two witches?" he suggested.
Alexis's mom turned around in her seat to face her daughter, brown eyes sparkling with mischief. Everyone always said that Alexis looked almost exactly like her mother, except for the color of her eyes and hair. However, their similarities became most apparent in moments like this.
"Shh! He's discovered our secret!" she stage-whispered.
"Oh no! I guess we'll just have to obliviate him," Alexis whispered back.
"Here! Hand me your wand. I'll take care of him! You're underage," her mother replied, the mischief still apparent in her voice.
"Hey! No need to-" Alexis's father never had a chance to finish.
The blaring of a truck horn brought Alexis's full attention to an enormous semi-truck that was barreling towards their car up ahead. She felt a hand grasp hers, her mother's or her father's. She could not tell. She was caught in the blinding headlights of the oncoming truck. Vaguely, she remembered the hand giving hers a squeeze before the impact.
There was the sound of metal screeching as it was being crunched. Then, everything went black.
Alexis opened her eyes to see the night sky above her like a canopy. Blinking in confusion, she attempted to sit up from where she was lying, only to discover that she was lying down. She was floating. Alexis let out a panicked squeak as she realized that there was absolutely nothing solid holding her up. Nothing at all.
The sound of a siren's wail caught her attention. She looked down. Below her, there was a nasty wreck between a blue car and a semi-truck. Alexis winced at the sight of the mashed up car, hoping that the people inside were alright. Though, deep inside, she knew that they weren't.
"Hello child," a voice behind her said.
Alexis spun around in surprise. Before her stood a woman in white. Her bright green eyes sparkled with laughter and her elfin features made her look like a fairy. Soft red curls fell past her shoulders and brought out the lovely emerald in her eyes. She was beautiful.
"Who are you?" Alexis asked, cautiously. In the back of her head, she was reviewing all the methods that she knew for self-defense. However, she wasn't sure how effective those methods would be whilst being suspended in mid-air with nothing to hold her up.
The woman smiled gently.
"My name is Lily Potter," the she replied. Even her voice was lovely. "I'm here to tell you that your wish has been granted."
Alexis's brows furrowed slightly, warning bells going off in her head. This was becoming a little creepy.
"What wish? What are you talking about?" Alexis inquired tightly.
Lily cocked her head slightly to the side like an owl and gave her a strange look. It looked almost like… pity? Why would she pity Alexis?
"You don't remember, do you?" Lily whispered softly.
Her eyes widened sadly before motioning with her hand at the wreck below. An ambulance and several more police cars had gathered at the scene since the woman, Lily, had appeared. Three people were being taken out of the wreckage of the mashed up car and placed in black bags. Body bags. The people looked so familiar, especially the teenage girl with the dark red hair.
Then it hit Alexis. She was the girl. She was dead. She remembered now.
A sob tore its way from her throat. Her parents were dead. She would never see her father or mother again. Or laugh with them again. They were gone. After the first sob, she quickly dissolved into tears.
Alexis felt a hand gently touch her shoulder. She looked up to see Lily with a solemn expression. She handed Alexis a white handkerchief.
"I'm so sorry Alexis," she whispered.
"T-thank you," Alexis sniffled.
She took a moment to wipe away her tears and blow her nose before turning back to Lily. Pulling the handkerchief away from her face, she noticed that it was devoid of black. Apparently there was no makeup in the afterlife. A rather odd thing to notice of course, but, then again, the situation wasn't exactly normal.
"So, Lily Potter, are you Harry Potter's mom?" Alexis asked, desperate to take her mind off the death of her parents, even if it was only for a little bit.
Lily nodded with a slight smile.
"But… but how-"Alexis began.
"How does the world of the Harry Potter books exist? How is it possible that I exist?" Lily finished for her.
Alexis nodded, more than a little dazed.
Lily smiled. "The world described in the Harry Potter books exists in an alternate universe. Everything in that universe is the exact same as the books except for one thing."
"What?" Alexis asked.
"You. You will change everything. You are as essential to this particular universe. Without you, all will fall out of balance," Lily explained.
Alexis blinked once. Then twice. Then thrice. Then she burst out laughing hysterically. It was several minutes before she could calm down enough to notice that Lily's solemn expression had not changed, and that nobody had jumped out with a camera yelling, "Ha! Got you!" This was serious.
"Everyone seemed to get along just fine without me in the books!" Alexis protested.
Lily grimaced. "How do I explain?" she muttered to herself before continuing. "This is not the same world that you read about in the books. There is a major difference. It will not become evident until much later. However, the world is the same except for that one detail."
"Care to elaborate on that, perhaps?" Alexis asked frowning at the vague explanation. She had always hated riddles.
Shaking her head, Lily replied, "I'm afraid not."
"What if I refuse?" Alexis probed.
Lily appeared startled, as if she had not considered that option. "You will move on past this in-between place and into the afterlife. There you will join your parents." She paused and then took a deep breath. "Please consider this. If you decide to move on, you will be condemning a world to a future of pain and destruction. The choice is yours. I can't make it for you."
Alexis stood very still. Two practically impossible choices were laid out before her. On one hand, she could have her greatest wish granted. The possibility of becoming a part of the Wizarding World. One the other hand, she could be at peace with her parents forever. No more worries and no more responsibilities, all at the expense of a world's destruction. Alexis knew what her decision was.
"What must I do?" she asked quietly.
Lily's tense posture visibly relaxed and she smiled brightly.
"Protect my son, Harry. Help him. Please. Promise me that you will do these things," Lily pleaded.
"I promise," said Alexis. "One question. Uh, where will I live in this alternate universe?"
"You are an eight year-old girl who recently moved to Little Whinging with her widower father because the company he works for sent him there. You will live next door to the Dursleys and Harry. Does that answer your question?" she replied.
"Oh! Your name will be Elizabeth Emerson," Lily added.
"I can live with that name… I suppose," Alexis replied a little reluctantly.
"Excellent! Good luck Elizabeth," Lily said sincerely. "And do not worry. You will not be alone."
Before she could ask what she had meant by that last statement, Lily touched her hand to Alexis's forehead. Alexis felt herself being pulled away. It was like being pulled through some kind of vacuum. For a long moment, it was impossible to breathe, as if she was being squeezed through a tube. Then, it was over.
In a small bedroom in Little Whinging, Elizabeth Emerson, once Alexis Brandon, woke up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath. She sat up and immediately jumped out of the foreign bed. Her bare feet landed on the cool wood floor. For a long moment, she simply stood there, her mind attempting to grasp the recent events. She shook her head. It was a lot to take in.
A light breeze brought Alexis's attention to the open window beside the bed. She moved across the floor as quietly as possible, but a few boards still creaked. Alexis reached the window and stared up at the stars. She immediately found the Northern Star, Polaris.
"Thank you, Mrs. Potter. I'll honor my promise. You can rely on that," Alexis stated seriously, knowing that Lily Potter could most likely hear her.
After a few minutes, Alexis tip-toed along the wood floor back towards the bed, managing to avoid some of the extra creaky floorboards. Above the headboard in green letters, the name "Lizzie" was spelled out.
"Lizzie Emerson." Alexis clapped a hand over her throat once she noticed, for the first time, the change in her voice. Gone was the American accent, and in its place was a full-fledged British one. Not to mention, the change in pitch. After a moment, Alexis relaxed and removed the hand from her throat, shrugging.
"I can live with that," she said to herself, referring to both the name and the voice.
She climbed into her soft little bed and closed her eyes. Lizzie Emerson, once Alexis Brandon, fell asleep within minutes.
Little did she know that Harry Potter had woken up in his little cupboard after a strange dream about a pretty, red-haired girl.