After the water was fetched and they had started cooking, Mr Weasley began looking around expectantly. Hermione was helping him make breakfast, and had to stop him repeatedly from tilting the pan too much.
'Mr Weasley, please be careful, you're going to burn yourself,' she said for the third time, pulling his attention back to the pan.
'Sorry, sorry,' he cried, tilting it back upright.
However, Mr Weasley wasn't the only one acting oddly. Charlie seemed to be unable to keep still. He started by tapping his foot on the pounded earth, drumming his fingers on his knee, and it didn't take long for him to start pacing.
And then, finally, just after Crouch and Bagman had left, Charlie blanched white at seeing something – someone – behind Harry.
Harry spun around, and saw who he was looking at.
And immediately, Harry saw what they all meant.
Victoria Elizabeth Holmes was, indeed, the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
Her body was long and lithe, curvaceous and full.
Her muggle attire consisted of tight jeans, running shoes, a burgundy polo tee, and a cream-coloured canvas jacket. Her hair was a rippling river of deep brown down her back, gold and copper highlights shining in the sunlight.
And her eyes, the same gold-indigo as her owl's, were almost almond shaped; her nose larger, maybe Italian; her skin was a smooth, tanned porcelain cream, and her cheeks pink.
The moment she heard Charlie, her face burst out into a brilliant smile. 'Charlie!' she cried, leaping into his arms as all the other boys looked jealously on. 'They didn't tell me you'd be here!'
Charlie wrapped her in a tight hug, his large muscles rippling under his t-shirt. 'I told them I wanted it to be a surprise. I've missed you so much.'
'I've missed you, too!' Her eyes then floated over the campsite, and locked on Harry's. Immediately, Harry felt a surge of recognition in the pit of his stomach. 'Charlie…' she muttered, and he pulled back, keeping his arm loosely around her waist. 'Hi, Harry,' she said quietly, stepping delicately forward, and away from Charlie's grip. 'My name's Victoria Elizabeth Holmes. Or, just Elizabeth.'
'Nice to... see you again, I guess,' Harry replied in the same delicate tone.
She laughed weakly, and stood awkwardly a few feet away from him. 'Um… so. Sorry, this is just a little… nerve wracking.'
'How about you two go talk?' Mr Weasley suggested, stepping up beside Elizabeth and motioning towards the boys' tent.
'Alright,' Elizabeth said, smiling hopefully at Harry. 'Shall we?'
'Sure. Ok. Let's… let's go, then.' Harry stood, shot a look at Ron and Hermione, and headed into the boys' tent ahead of Elizabeth.
They stood in an awkward silence for a moment, until Elizabeth muttered, 'Okay. This is ridiculous.' She smiled, and said, 'Harry, sit down. I'm going to tell you a story.' He did, and she started with, 'Before I start, please, please, don't interrupt me, and… and don't hate me, okay? Just let me explain. Fully. Before you kill me. Okay?' Her eyes were pleading with him despite her smile, and all he could do was nod. 'Okay. Okay…'
She took a deep breath, and stood in front of him. She shifted her weight for a moment, and began. 'On March 13th, 1981, Lord Voldemort came to my house. I was eight years old. He murdered my parents in front of me. He tortured me, although it seemed to pain him to do so – physically, I mean. Much like your mother left an imprint of love on you, so did my mother on me. Voldemort was about to kill me when Dumbledore arrived; fought him off. Dumbledore saved me.' She paused. 'By that time, you and your parents were already in hiding. Remus Lupin was – is – my godfather, but your parents offered to take me until the war was over. So I came to live with them. Everyone thought we would be safe.' She paused again, looked him over, and continued slowly. 'I lived with you and your parents for almost eight months. I helped your mother take care of you. Your parents used to say that we were more like brother and sister every day.
'And then, on October 31st… Lord Voldemort came to your parents' house. I saw everything, Harry. I saw him kill your father, your mother, and then I saw him turn to you. I saw the curse deflect, and I dove over your one-year-old body to ensure that, when your house came down, it didn't come down on you. I had promised your parents that I would never let anything bad happen to you.' Her eyes began to glaze over in unfallen tears. 'We only had to wait a little while before Hagrid showed up. And then Sirius. Hagrid said Dumbledore wanted him to take you to your Aunt and Uncle's house. But he hadn't specified what to do with me, must've thought I was dead, so Sirius said he would take me. Since he was your godfather, Hagrid just figured he was my godfather, too. When Hagrid left, Sirius took me with him.' Her eyes, now sparkling with tears, were locked on Harry's. She paused again, and continued. 'I was there when Pettigrew escaped. I saw what really happened. No one would listen to me, though. They wouldn't believe an eight year old who had seen as much and been through as much as I had. They thought I just wanted to keep the last person I loved near me, since they wouldn't let me near Remus for fear of what a werewolf would do to a child. Dumbledore arrived on the scene; had to pry me off of Sirius' waist I was holding on so tight.
'After Sirius was sent to Azkaban, the Ministry didn't know what to do with me. They were scared that Voldemort's followers would try to kill me, and I had no family to go to. I would have gone to live with Remus, but they didn't think a werewolf was an adequate guardian for a young child. Especially me. So Dumbledore suggested I live at the safest place I could possibly live: Hogwarts.
'I moved to Hogwarts when I was still eight, and started classes when I was ten – the Ministry bent a couple of rules. Since then, I've lived there during the school year, summer and the holidays… except for a couple Christmases that I was invited over to the Weasleys'…' A flush filled her cheeks under the tears, and she smiled a little. Harry was entranced, and he, too, was beginning to feel a knot in the base of his stomach.
'Harry, I know this might sound a little odd… but I've watched you grow up. When you went to the third floor to find the philosopher's stone... when you heard the snake's voice in the walls and went into the chamber… and last year, when you were dealing with Dementors, and hearing your parents' screams… I so wanted to be there for you. I wanted to protect you, but Dumbledore wouldn't let me. Too many unanswered questions.
'Harry, I'm… I wanted to tell you all this because… because I wanted to know if you'd be willing to let me be a part of your life. I've been though a lot of what you have, and I know what you're going through with the dreams, the Parseltongue, the isolation. I know – you probably hate me for abandoning you, and that's fine. I just… want you to make the choice. If you don't want me around, that's fine. But… I made a promise Harry,' she said quietly, kneeling down before him, 'and I intend to keep that promise.'A silence spread over them for a moment, until Harry, overcome with emotion, threw himself into the comforting arms of Victoria Elizabeth olmesHolHolmes, the sister he never knew, and said, 'I've always wondered what it would be like to have a sister.'