The Beginning

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Bedsheets. I felt bedsheets. Again.

Frustration shook me as I rolled over, pressing my eyes even tighter shut. Perhaps if I just went back to sleep there would still be a chance. A slim chance that my weeks of effort would finally come into fruition. I was on the cusp of making it. My desired reality was so close that I could almost smell it...

I froze. My heart dropped to my stomach as the scent of black coffee filled my nose. I inhaled deeply, certain I was imagining things. I felt myself begin to shake. This was not happening. I slowly ran my tongue along the back of my teeth, ready to feel the sharp wire my braces had left behind. Nothing. I felt only the smooth surface of my incisors.

Suddenly my eyes were pulled open. I couldn't have kept them shut if I tried. I blinked frantically, not allowing myself to believe what was in front of me.

Bedsheets, yes. But they were not the off-white that I had gone to sleep in. I now lay in a grand king sized bed, cocooned in a sheath of dark blue blankets. The feather duvet lay heavy on my body, as though it was the one thing still keeping me grounded.

I looked up and gasped, voice catching in the back of my throat in surprise. The four posters of the bed I was in held up the night sky. Black silk, twinkling with stars. My eyes travelled downwards as the silk lightened out to midnight blue curtains surrounding the bed.

I am in Ravenclaw tower.

Then, the flood gates opened. I dropped my head to my hands, flinching as memory after memory rushed into my brain. I remembered my parents, I remembered my friends, I remembered my life. My other life. It was as though I'd always been there. Because I had always been there.

Before I had time to steady my new thoughts, the curtains around my bed were violently ripped open. I gaped up at the beautiful girl standing over me. Her dark eyebrows creased into a frown between her brown eyes. Her lips pressed into a thin line, giving her delicate face the look of a disapproving mother.

"Get up! What are you even doing? We've just about missed breakfast now." She sighed.

Padma Patil. I knew her. I remembered her. I tried to make sense of the memories. Christmas Eve sitting in a bedroom lit only by candles, laughing with her and two other boys. Dancing at a ball - the yule ball - as she let her turquoise gown swirl around her. Sitting in a library as she leaned over me, correcting an essay.

She was my friend.

"Dottie? Are you okay?" She asked, her frown deepening.

"Yes." I choked out, "I had an, um, I had a dream. A bad dream."

"About the war?" She said softly.

"Yes? I mean, yes. I'm fine though."

I threw back my duvet and stumbled out of bed, shuddering as my bare feet made contact with the cool stone floor. This was really happening.

I walked to an ornate silver wardrobe that I knew was mine and pulled out my uniform. I scrambled to the bathroom, shutting the door behind me. Dropping my uniform to the ground, I slowly walked over to the sink. I took a deep breath and looked into the mirror.

I am me. I am real. This is real.

With a shaking hand I reached up to touch my cheek. I turned my head left, then right. I stuck out my tongue. I pressed my eyes shut as tightly as I could and opened them again, only to find myself still there. I let out a hysterical giggle, slapping a hand over my mouth before Padma came in. This really was it. I was at Hogwarts.

"Dottie? Christine?" I heard a knock on the door.

I grinned at my reflection in the mirror, trying to paint a mask of normalcy on my startled face.

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