Wow, wasn't expecting a response so soon, but thanks! Not much else to say except on with the fic!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
She could feel Harry tense as Professor Dumbledore pronounced his name, and the shock and horror on his face was like a sharp slap. Especially in contrast to the looks forming on everyone else's faces. How had it happened.
"Harry Potter." It was a demand now, more urgent than perform, and that brought her twin to action. Harry stood stiffly, walking up the aisle to the Head Table. Why was everyone sending him those dirty looks? Couldn't they see something had gone horribly wrong? She wanted to get up and follow, but the solemn expressions on the teacher's faces gave her pause, and so Leila watched as Harry entered the antechamber off to the side alone.
"Prefects, take the students back to their dormitories," Dumbledore ordered, voice still calm, but with a slight undertone of unease. With that, he swept with Maxime, Karkarrof, Crouch, Bagman, McGonagall, Snape, and even Moody after her brother. The Great Hall came alive with tremendous noise as soon as the door closed, thunderous voices all shouting out to and above each other.
"Leila?" Hermione was standing by her side, waiting for the other girl to rise.
"I—what?" She shook her head, trying to concentrate amid all the sound and her own racing thoughts.
"We need to go back, now," the brown-haired girl patiently reminded her. Most of the students were shuffling about the giant oak doors, waiting for their turn in the traffic jam.
"Where's—Ron?" That question suddenly hit with such force, and she turned her head this way and that, trying to spot the familiar mop of red that indicated their friend.
"He left as soon as Dumbledore said, I'm not sure why," Hermione told her, a small frown tugging at her lips. "But we should—"
"You go ahead, Hermione," Leila decided, "I'll wait for Harry."
"Are you sure?" Hermione looked torn between staying behind as well, or doing as the Headmaster requested.
"Sure, I'll be fine." She tried to give a convincing smile, but the way her friend would glance back worriedly at her every few paces, Leila was sure she had failed at it.
Soon the Hall, and even the Entrance Hall beyond were silent, and Leila waited alone at the long Gryffindor table. She became so used to the solitude that when the antechamber door banged open and Bartiemus Crouch stormed out, she almost jumped. Still, Leila leapt from her seat and into the man's path.
"Mr. Crouch, please—"
"Stand aside, young lady," Crouch interrupted dismissively.
"You don't understand, I'm Harry's sister, I just want to know—"
Crouch sighed almost theatrically, cutting her off again. "Mr. Potter will be competing in the Tournament.
Leila was sure she looked absolutely gob smacked. "What? But that's insane! He didn't even—"
"Regardless of whether Mr. Potter broke the rules or not, he must compete as a Triwizard Champion. Now if you will excuse me Ms. Potter, goodnight." Mr. Crouch finished tersely and hurried off just as before. Leila hadn't liked the man when Mr. Weasley had introduced them to him during the World Cup, but now she quite possibly loathed him. Making Harry compete in a Tournament for seventh years? How was he expected to survive?
"Merlin's beard," she gasped out loud, one hand landing over her rapidly beating heart. Hermione had said that people died in previous Tournaments. What if—
No, she had to push that from her mind. But what else could she think about, all by herself in a Great empty Hall? She needed- needed—
Sirius, Sirius and Remus, they would know what to do. They had to. Before she had even finished the thought Leila was racing up the stairs to the Owlery, her bag swinging at her side. When she finally burst through the door at the top of the tower's spiral staircase, she had to stop and take deep gulps of the mostly fresh night air. Not many owls were still there, but that was fine. She was sure Hedwig would come when needed, just like she always did. So Leila settled down with ink, parchment, and quill to write.
Sirius and Remus,
Something awful has happened. The Champions for the Tournament were chosen tonight, but the Goblet spit out four names instead of three, and the fourth name was Harry's! I know he couldn't have entered it himself, but Mr. Crouch is saying that he still has to compete. But that's insane! Harry's only a 4th year, and Hermione said the Tournament used to kill loads of 7th years in the past. What if he gets really hurt or—
I don't know what to do.
When she looked up from the shaky script, sure enough, Hedwig swooped down landing on the straw-strewn floor beside her.
"Hey girl," Leila muttered softly, taking some comfort in stroking the snowy white feathers. Hedwig, as if sensing her distress, hooted calmly, and nibbled a little on her finger. Leila smiled, then sighed and set to work tying the letter to the owl's leg. "Make sure this gets to Sirius and Remus as fast as you can, girl." Hedwig hooted again and took off, growing distant in the inky sky, blending with the stars.
When she finally returned to the Gryffindor Common Room, it had the appearance of a roughly aborted party. People were standing around talking, some even laughing, but most were shooting occasional glances up the boys' staircase. Neither Harry nor Ron was in sight.
"Leila," Neville called to her as she made her way to the stairs. "I wouldn't go up there if I were you. Ron was in a pretty bad mood when I saw him earlier, and Harry looks like he's in a right state."
"Of course he's in a state!" Leila snapped, then regretted it as Neville ducked his head, prominent ears flushed scarlet. "Sorry Neville," she muttered, not waiting to see him nod in acceptance of the apology before bounding up the stairs two at a time. Slightly out of breath, she paused outside the fourth years' dorm, listening for anything, but hearing nothing. So she knocked twice and opened the door.
"Harry? Ron? You both in here?" What she saw in the dimly lit room was Ron's curtains drawn around his bed and Harry sitting with his back to both it and the door, head in his hands. He turned to meet her concerned gaze and she could read the distress in his wide eyes and wild hair, as though he had run a hand through it a few times.
"Er, hi. What is it?" He finally asked, though his voice wavered some.
"I wanted to check on you. I heard from Mr. Crouch that—but you can't be—"
"They're making me do it. The Tournament," Harry replied, and nervous fingers found the rumpled black locks again.
"I can't believe it!" She picked her way over trunks, clothes, and the odd textbook or so and sat next to him on his four-poster. "Do they even know how your name got in there?"
"No," Harry replied, the word clipped. His tone became bitter as he continued, "Although some people seem to think I put it in myself on purpose." He shot a dark look over his shoulder at Ron's curtains.
There was a pause, and then the muffled voice of their friend replied sullenly, "I can hear you, you know."
"Sorry," Harry replied, not sounding very apologetic at all. "Thought you were asleep."
"Well, since you're not," Leila broke in, feeling a sort of unease tugging at her insides at the way the two friends were speaking, "why not pull back the curtains so we can actually talk to you."
"No thank you, Leila." He was being perfectly polite, but their voice a coldness in Ron's voice that made in turn to Harry in confusion.
"Ron thinks I put my name in the Goblet," Harry explained, and she felt her jaw drop.
"No!" She whirled back around to face her other friend's curtains again. "Oh come on, Ron. You think he'd actually—"
"We were talking about it," Ron pointed out, still not emerging.
"Yeah, as a joke! Like how Malfoy tells those stupid stories about evading helicopters on his broom or something. Harry wasn't being serious!"
"And yet, he's a Champion."
"That doesn't mean I did it!" Harry burst out, anger quickly replacing worry as his primary emotion. "Stop being thick!"
"Harry!" She couldn't help but scold. How would calling Ron thick solve anything?
"Curfew," the fifth year Prefect said from the open doorway. He sent a pointed look in Leila's direction, who huffed impatiently before standing to take her leave.
She stopped in the stairwell, pausing to look back through the door. "Don't—just get some sleep. Both of you, alright?" This was ridiculous, how could Ron think that? She was sure it was a misunderstanding, something they could clear up in the morning.
When Leila returned to the Common Room, she found plenty of her housemates still hanging around. She planned to just turn and head for the girl's staircase, but was stopped by Fred reaching an arm around her shoulders.
"Alright, Leila, your brother won't spill the beans so tell us: how'd he manage it?" George materialized along with Lee Jordan on her other side, all three boys looking eager to hear it.
"He didn't—" she began tersely, but stopped upon seeing the doubtful glances being sent their way. "Look," she started again, "we don't know how Harry's name got put in the Goblet, but Harry didn't put it there."
"Well, Ernie was saying Harry—" Dean started quietly and her temper flared.
"Macmillian said second year that I was the Heir of Slytherin and Harry was my mind slave, do you believe that, too?"
Dean had the decency to blush. "No, sorry."
"Harry didn't ask for this to happen. And I don't really know what, if anything, he said to you all, but we appreciate the sentiment." She gestured to the banners that had been quickly assembled in the wake of the shocking news.
Fred gave her shoulder a squeeze and then released her. "Sure thing, Leila."
"Yeah, Harry was only a little grumpy with us, but no harm done," George elaborated.
"We believe him," Lee finished simply.
"I'll admit that I was a little disappointed, but whatever the circumstance, at least we have a Gryffindor in the competition," Angelina commented with a grin usually reserved for pre-game.
"Well, thanks. For the support, I mean. Er, goodnight." The eyes of the Common Room inhabitants were beginning to make her just a little uncomfortable. She quickly retreated to the dormitory, gaining some small comfort when she found Hermione curled up like usual with a large book. They could do this.
That really is terrible news. I'm setting up a meeting with Professor Dumbledore right away to discuss what happened. More specifically, what went wrong. If there's a loophole to this Magical Contract rubbish, we'll find it. Keep your head up, Harry will be fine.
P.S. There could potentially be some pretty nasty backlash against Harry for this, which is entirely undeserved. Try and keep it from getting either of you down. Keep your friends close.
Keep her friends close? Well, she had already screwed that up. Hermione had been leaving the Hall as she entered, still with toast in her hands. Probably off to the library again. She didn't think the girl was ignoring her, but Leila still felt a little lost.
Ron, on the other hand, had most certainly ignored her hello, even if he was surrounded by Dean, Seamus, and Neville. It hurt, more than anything else in the last twenty-four hours.
"The Whimsy Witzes, I expect," Luna Lovegood's airy tone sounded to her left, and Leila jumped, snapping her head up from Sirius and Remus' letter to see the Ravenclaw third year.
"Merlin, Luna! Don't do that."
"Good morning, Leila. How's your brother today?"
"He was asleep, didn't wake him," Leila replied. "And what did you mean by the—sorry, the what?"
"The Whimsy Witzes. They're little creatures that delight in practical jokes. Misplacing items, switching around objects, little things like that. I pretty sure that's how your brother's name got in the Goblet," the blonde happily explained.
"Er, sure," Leila replied. She turned back to her plate just in time to find Ron's gaze on her. He looked away pointedly, shoveling the rest of his breakfast in his mouth, and standing to leave the Great Hall. This was stupid.
"Ron! Hey, Ron, wait up!" She hurried after him, catching him in the Entrance Hall, though he still hadn't acknowledged her. "Will you cut it out?"
"Cut what out?" he grumbled finally, looking at her from his peripheral vision.
"You know what I mean. This isn't the Burrow and we're not five. So tell me why you're mad."
"I'm not—Harry—his name—bloody Goblet," Ron couldn't seem to find the right words, starting and discarding every sentence. She tried not to let her annoyance show.
"You can't actually believe Harry put his name in the Goblet, can you?" She finally tried.
"Leila?" The two looked up to see Harry and Hermione, who had come in from the grounds. Harry had just been finishing off a piece of toast, but was stopped with a hurt look on his face. If she didn't know better, she would almost believe a knife really was stabbing him in the back. "Why are you—" he couldn't seem to finish, breaking off to scowl at Ron, who bristled and glowered back.
"Oh bloody hell," Leila muttered.
"What, can't she talk to whoever she wants?" Ron demanded, "Or does the Champion require permission?" Before Harry could reply in kind, Ron stormed off up the stairs.
"Ron!" Hermione called after him, but the redhead paid no heed. "Harry, I'm sure—"
"It doesn't matter, I've got homework to do," her brother cut off their friend and left equally upset. Hermione looked at her helplessly for a moment before following after.
She'd only been trying to patch things up. How had everything spiraled so out of control with one tiny slip of paper?
I'm going to stop here for the chapter. Will the Friend Feud continue? Thanks for reading, and please review!