THIS STORY IS BEING REWRITTEN ON JANUARY LILY'S ACCOUNT AS "LOST ALONG THE WAY" So, if you want to read better and not as awkward writing, head over there. Otherwise, know that this was the first fanfiction I ever published. :) I know I'm biased, but I prefer the rewrite.
… … … … …
The moonlight shone softly through the window as a gentle breeze blew into the room causing the curtains to rustle. The night was peaceful, almost too peaceful as the residents of Number Four Privet Drive lay fast asleep; but that serenity was interrupted by muttering from a teenage girl. Leila Potter tightly clutched her pillow and breathed unevenly until she was released from her nightmares and back into reality.
"It was only a dream, only a dream," Leila muttered softly.
Leila listened carefully to see if she had woken anyone up, but the only sound heard was snoring coming from the other room. Leila sighed and rubbed her eyes to fully wake-up. She lay on her bed staring at the ceiling, contemplating whether or not she wanted to get off her bed, which was the top bunk, in order to get her covers. Apparently sometime during her sleep she had kicked her blankets to the floor in her violent thrashing and they had landed in a pile on the floor. She groaned and sat up as she ran her fingers through her unruly hair. Her head peeked over the bed trying to find a place to jump on the floor; but her brother had left the floor filthy. It was covered with owl feathers, apple cores, candy wrappers, spellbooks, Gryffindor robes, and Daily Prophet's. Normally, she would be on Harry's case about keeping the room so messy; but this summer was different. Harry was still grieving Sirius Black's death from the end of the last school year. Leila too missed Sirius but she knew that she had to be strong. Harry had a rough year last year with Voldemort's continuous attempts to get to him; and Leila hadn't always been there like she should have because she too was grieving. She could empathize with what her brother was feeling so she had to remain strong for her brother, the only true family she had left.
"Leila, are you okay?" her brother asked from the bottom bunk.
"Harry, you're awake?" Leila asked somewhat startled.
"You were talking in your sleep and that woke me up," Harry said groggily.
"Sorry about that," Leila muttered.
Silence overcame the room as Dudley's snores began to get louder. Leila felt somewhat guilty over waking her brother up from his slumber. He needed his sleep because he hadn't been sleeping well. Usually when Harry slept, he was plagued by nightmares which Leila guessed to be about Sirius. Leila sighed once more and Harry broke the silence.
"What was your dream about?" Harry asked.
"Nothing, it doesn't matter. It was only a dream," Leila said.
"Leila, I know that kind of dream… Harry began.
"I know where you're going with this and my dreams aren't like yours," Leila argued.
"You never know what can happen because of them, Leila," Harry whispered.
"Harry, you can't blame yourself because of what happened to Sirius," Leila sighed.
"He's gone, Leila. He's gone because of me," Harry faltered.
"I know he's gone, but I'm sure he's in a better place; he's with Mum and Dad. Besides, I know that he doesn't blame you for any of it because Sirius loved you, Harry. You meant the world to him and he wouldn't want to see you like this," Leila said.
"You were important to him too," Harry said.
"Yeah, well you and Sirius had a special connection. He was your godfather, not mine," Leila said.
"Whose godfather he was doesn't matter because Remus is your godfather and he and I get along well. You were important to Sirius too," Harry said.
Silence overcame the room once again so Leila stared at the ceiling thinking about their godfathers. Neither of Sirius nor Remus had been able to take them, so they got stuck at the Dursley's. Sirius had been locked up in Azkaban for a crime he didn't commit and Remus didn't trust himself taking care of two children because of his lycanthropy. Leila was glad that they had been a part of their lives for the past couple of years, because she loved learning things about her parents. She had so many things that she wanted to know about her parents that she didn't even know where to begin to ask. Leila sighed as she thought about her parents; but was distracted by a rustling noise from under her bed so she turned to watch Harry get up. She could see his outline in the moonlight as he bent to the floor to grab the blankets Leila had kicked to the floor. Harry threw the blankets up to his sister who thanked him and snuggled back underneath her blankets. He leaned up against the post of the bunk bed and looked at his sister by the light of the moonlight. Leila's emerald eyes shone in the moonlight as she looked to her brother intently.
"You'd tell me if your dreams were like mine, wouldn't you?" Harry asked.
"I would, but the fact is Harry, my dreams aren't like yours. I don't have a connection with Voldemort," Leila said.
"Maybe you just don't realize the connection yet." Harry said.
"I think I would bloody well know if I was connected to Voldemort," Leila hissed.
"Maybe, maybe not. I'm just concerned for you, Leila, you're my little sister," Harry sighed.
"You don't always need to protect me, you know. I'm only younger by eleven minutes," Leila said.
"Actually, it is my job to look after you, unfortunately," Harry teased.
"As if it's any better being the "Chosen One's" sister," Leila teased back.
"You read the article then?" Harry asked.
"I glanced at the title," Leila said.
"Well, we both know it's true," Harry said.
"Maybe the prophecy is wrong," Leila sighed.
"Are they usually?" Harry asked.
"If it comes from a credible source, then no," Leila said.
"Dumbledore trusts this one to be real, so I do too," Harry said.
"Harry, that's too much for one person," Leila said.
"I'll try to keep you, Ron, and Hermione involved as much as possible," Harry said.
"You're not doing this by yourself and please, no talk of Granger, please," Leila groaned.
"Fine, just go back to sleep," Harry chuckled.
Harry reached-up to ruffle Leila's hair which caused her swat at her brother's hand and made Harry laugh. Leila groaned as she attempted to smooth-out her already snarly hair. Oh the joys of being a little sister Leila thought. Harry ducked below Leila's bed and lay back down on his own bed. Neither twin spoke as Dudley's snores were joined by Hedwig pecking at her cage. The noises called Leila to chuckle under her breath, until her thoughts turned to her dream. Something wasn't right about it, but she couldn't explain what about it was wrong. She wasn't as worried about her dreams as her brother was, but did he really need to be? Leila sighed and rolled onto her side, facing the wall as the sound of Harry snoring joined the symphony of sounds. Her chuckled was interrupted by a yawn, which she attempted to stifle. Leila didn't want Harry to have the weight of the world on himself. She that he carried it and felt responsible for it; but things shouldn't be that way. But with Voldemort back, things were always more complicated than they should be. Leila yawned again and tried to fight sleep; but that was a lost battle and her drooping eyelids overtook her and she fell back asleep.
Leila awoke the next morning to the sunlight streaming into the bedroom. Harry's soft snores still came from beneath her so she jumped off her bed and gathered her things for a trip to the bathroom. Leila walked down the hallway to the bathroom to find the door was shut and in use. Dudley Leila thought. It was very impractical to only have one bathroom for three teenagers; but knowing the Dursley's allowing her and Harry even to use the bathroom in their household came from the kindness in the bottom of their hearts. Leila sank to the floor while she waited for Dudley to emerge from the bathroom. While she waited, she counted the pictures of Dudley hung on the hallway walls. (There were 34 pictures) After what seemed like a century, but was really twenty minutes Leila plucked-up the courage to knock on the door.
"What do you want?" Dudley yelled through the door.
"I want to use the bathroom." Leila yelled back.
"Just wait," Dudley shouted.
"I've already been waiting," Leila groaned.
About a minute later, Dudley opened the door and emerged from the bathroom as steam poured out after him. Leila could hardly breathe because of the hot, moist air which reeked of cologne and it forced her to take a step backward for a decent breath of air. Dudley didn't make eye contact as he scurried past his cousin. Dudley hardly ever made contact with her nor Harry since the dementor attack last year; but Leila didn't dwell on it too long because she quickly lunged for the bathroom. Leila quickly showered and dried off before dressing in the jeans and button-up blue plaid shirt she had picked out. Her wet hair hung limp as she started to brush her teeth. Suddenly, a knock came at the door which caused Leila to groan.
"Leila, I need to use the bathroom," Harry said impatiently.
"I'm brushing my teeth!" Leila attempted to say; but her mouth was full of toothpaste so the toothpaste foamed and spluttered from her mouth.
"C'mon Leila, I really need to go," Harry groaned.
Leila rolled her eyes and spit the toothpaste into the sink; but she wasn't done brushing yet. She put the toothbrush back in her mouth keeping it in place between her cheek and teeth before opening the door. She rolled her eyes at her brother whose bed-head hair was worse than normal before walking out of the bathroom.
"Hurry up and no stealing the bathroom this time," Leila said.
Harry, who was still half-asleep, nodded his head before side-stepping Leila to get into the bathroom. Harry closed and locked the door behind him, so Leila leaned against the door while she continued to brush her teeth. She heard the toilet flush and the sink turn on and assumed any moment she would get the bathroom back; but Harry never came back out.
"Harry, I got to spit," Leila said with toothpaste foaming out of her mouth.
The shower turned on and Leila screamed her brother's name; but there was use trying to get back into the bathroom. She really should learn sooner or later that Harry usually steals the bathroom for her. Leila rolled her eyes and quickly ran downstairs and to the only sink available to her: the one in the kitchen. She bounded through the entryway and into the kitchen nearly knocking down Aunt Petunia who was opening the refrigerator reaching for some eggs. When she finally reached the sink she quickly spit out the toothpaste which was already spilling from her mouth, before rinsing her mouth and lips with water. She wiped the dribbling water from her face with the back of her plaid sleeve before turning to her aunt and uncle. Leila awkwardly waved at her aunt and uncle with toothbrush in hand as to offer an explanation for her actions.
"Good morning Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon." Leila said sweetly.
Neither of them verbally responded. Uncle Vernon didn't even look up from his paper, but Aunt Petunia briefly glanced up at her from the eggs in the frying pan. Leila nodded and shoved her toothbrush back in her mouth before heading back upstairs to the room she shared with Harry. She climbed back up into her bed and put her long dark brown hair up into a pony tail. When Harry came back into the room Leila glared at him which caused Harry to laugh and Leila flung her toothbrush at her brother. However, Harry caught her toothbrush with ease and set it down on the desk.
"I'm glad you find this amusing, you prat," Leila said.
"You fall for it every time," Harry smiled.
"See if I'm nice to you ever again," Leila said.
"Right, we'll see about that," Harry said.
Leila rolled her eyes at her brother as he walked over to the mirror and ruffled his hair. Her gaze turned to the window where she spotted unsuspecting Muggles walking past Number Four. To them, nothing seemed off. Sure there were random disappearances that the Muggles couldn't explain; but they didn't know that the Wizarding World was on the brink of war. But Harry interrupted Leila's sentimental moment.
"So are you going to tell me about your dream?" Harry asked.
Leila bit her lip in contemplation. She knew she should tell him, but she knew Harry to act too hastily sometimes. Sirius being one of those examples, she would never tell that to his face; but it could be considered one of her brother's downfalls, always having to play the hero. Leila thought back on her dream: It was dark, but there were voices whispering. Above the whispers, a woman could be heard "He's only a boy." Suddenly, everything became silent and someone's screams disturbed the silence. Then an arm, marked with the Dark Mark appeared. A hand clutched the marked arm. That hand had a Hogwarts ring with an emerald gem. The dream faded into darkness with faint crying. Leila put her head in her hands wishing she knew what the dream meant. It couldn't mean anything could it? Harry looked at her; and his expression read that he wanted to know. Leila knew he wouldn't drop the subject unless she said something, so she tried to figure out something that was true yet as vague as possible.
"I don't remember much of it anymore, basically darkness and a Dark Mark," Leila said.
"Voldemort could be using you, Leila," Harry said.
"He isn't. I know Occlumency. In case you've forgotten I had to get lessons with you," Leila said.
"I don't like this, you should tell Dumbledore," Harry said.
"I will," Leila said.
"Tell him tonight, he's going to be here," Harry said.
"If I have another dream like it, I will. There's no sense in disturbing him over one dream. Dumbledore's a busy man, Harry," Leila said.
"He'd want to know," Harry said.
"And if I have another dream, he will," Leila said.
Harry groaned giving up in defeat.
"Hand me yesterday's Daily Prophet, will you?" Leila asked.
Harry bent over to the stack of old papers and threw yesterday's paper up to Leila which flew all over her bed.
"Prat," Leila muttered.
Leila put the paper back in order and flipped it open to a section where the Malfoy's covered an entire page. Lucius had been sentenced to Azkaban, leaving behind his wife and son. She saw the caption above Draco and his mother's picture: "Fallen From Grace, Malfoy's Son and Wife Leave Trial." She almost felt bad for Draco; the key word being: almost. Draco Malfoy had been nothing but a giant prat since the day she met him on the Hogwarts Express. Well, he normally was a prat to everyone else but her. Since the moment she had met him, Malfoy seemed to follow her around like a lost puppy. He hated her brother and vocalized the fact quite often; but would constantly strive for Leila's attention, which usually annoyed her in the process. She wasn't sure when; but Draco eventually developed a crush on her which annoyed her to no end. She had tried everything to get him to hate her, but nothing ever worked because he always came back to her. It didn't help matters they were forced to spend time together as Slytherin prefects patrolling the castle and Malfoy usually took that to his advantage. Leila was actually happy to hand him over to a doting, pug-faced Parkinson, even if it meant receiving constant insults; but then again, things had changed. After the Ministry break-in last year and Draco's father being outed as a known Death Eater Draco had threatened Harry at the end of last year; but he hadn't spoken to Leila. She assumed he was mad at her; but he never spoke a word to her, he hardly even glanced her way. Leila wanted to say that he deserved what happened to his family, but a feeling in the pit of her stomach told her what it was like not to have your family all together.
"What are you reading about?" Harry asked.
"The Malfoy's," Leila said.
"Good riddance, I say," Harry said.
"Are you all packed?" Leila asked changing the subject.
"Basically, you?" Harry asked.
"Of course. Dumbledore said that he'd be here at eleven, right?" Leila asked.
"Yeah. Eleven tonight," Harry said.
"And we're going to the Burrow?" Leila asked.
"I already told you this too," Harry said.
"I'm just making sure. Did the note say anything else?" Leila asked.
"I don't remember," Harry said.
"Can I see it then?" Leila asked.
"Erm…what if I told you that I couldn't find it?" Harry grinned.
"And this is why we need to keep a clean room," Leila said.
"Come off it, the Dursley's don't care," Harry said.
"No, but I do," Leila said.
"I promise that I'll clean it today," Harry said.
"You might as well leave it like it is for the Dursley's to clean. If a rotting smell starts wafting outside they won't be normal anymore," Leila smirked.
Leila and Harry stayed in their room for most of the day. Leila rummaged through her trunk and managed to find a book that she hadn't read yet, a signed copy of Lockhart's Magical Me. Leila picked it up, hoping that at least she might get a good laugh at her former Defence professor, if you could call him that; but she quickly got bored of the book after one chapter. However, she forced herself to continue or be bored to death. She then read the Daily Prophet, which contained the article on Harry being the "Chosen One" which almost made her glad they spent the summer outside of the Wizarding World, with the rumors swirling about Harry. Finally, after the Dursley's went to bed, Leila found herself cleaning the room out of pure boredom. She cringed at all the garbage on the floor. Leila went to yell at Harry, but found him asleep, practically drooling on the window pane so she threw one of his dirty socks at him instead.
"Harry, you're disgusting," Leila muttered.
Leila opened her trunk to double-check that she had everything packed. She crossed things off on her mental checklist and was about halfway through her trunk when Harry suddenly jumped up and out of his chair. He looked to his shoulder where the dirty sock had landed and picked it off before flinging it back to the floor.
"He's here," Harry said.
Harry quickly scrambled reaching for strewn book, robes, and other school things on the floor that were covered by newspapers. Leila was almost amused the flying newspapers, but she thought that Harry had said that he was ready for Dumbledore's arrival.
"I thought you said you were packed!" Leila said.
"Those weren't my exact words," Harry ginned.
"Harry James Potter! When will you learn?" Leila questioned.
Leila shook her head and closed her trunk before locking it. She grabbed her bookbag and shoved her wand in the back pocket of her jeans. She looked to her brother once more, who was now digging under the bed for something tossing an apple core at Leila, which she quickly side-stepped. Leila rolled her and dragged her trunk from the room and into the hallway. The conversation from downstairs reverberated up the stairway and into the hallway for Leila to hear. Uncle Vernon didn't sound too happy to Professor Dumbledore; but then again, Uncle Vernon was never happy to see anyone from the Wizarding World. But Vernon was taking this worse than normal. Leila smacked her forehead because Harry had forgotten to tell their guardians that Dumbledore was coming to take them tonight. Leila set her trunk down and walked back to the bedroom door.
"Harry, you forgot to tell them Dumbledore was coming," Leila hissed
Harry groaned as he tried to shove a pile of his belongings into his trunk.
"You could have told them too," Harry said.
"You're older, it was your responsibility and the letter was addressed to you," Leila said with her hands on her hips.
"You're usually the more responsible one," Harry muttered.
"Are you going to do something about this or not?" Leila questioned.
Harry looked to his sister before rushing past her headed for the stairs. When he past his sister, he accidentally ran into her causing her to drop the book she held in her hand. Leila rolled her eyes and bent over to up the book before she followed Harry's example to go downstairs. She once again grabbed her trunk and went downstairs, struggling with her trunk on every stair. You think after years of doing this it would get easier. Well, when she could legally use magic it would get easier. When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she found Harry already in the entryway talking with Dumbledore. Leila looked to her headmaster who smiled at her, which she returned.
"It's good to see you, Leila," Dumbledore said.
"You too, sir," Leila said.
Dumbledore nodded and turned his attention to the Dursleys; introducing himself to Aunt Petunia and Dudley. Dudley looked petrified to see a fully grown wizard causing Leila to stifle a smile. He then walked into the sitting room without being invited, which caused the Dursleys to follow him in and Harry to follow them. They wanted to make sure that Dumbledore wasn't going to do any hocus-pocus to them. Since it seemed like everyone was meeting in there Leila followed and sat down on the loveseat, while Harry just stood behind the loveseat with his eyes on the Dumbledore.
"Aren't-aren't we leaving, sir?" Harry asked.
"Yes, indeed we are, but there are a few matters we need to discuss first with your aunt and uncle. So we'll only intrude a little longer," Dumbledore said.
"You think so? You have no right," Uncle Vernon said narrowing his eyes.
"No, I suppose I don't; but I need to speak with you and your wife and now is a time as good as any," Dumbledore said.
"This should go well," Leila said sarcastically.
Harry took the spot on the loveseat next to Leila while Dumbledore seemed to make himself at home, even going so far as to offer the Potter twins and the Dursleys some of Madam Rosmerta's finest oak-matured mead. The Dursleys, being Dursleys, naturally did not drink any; but Harry and Leila sipped on the glasses they were offered. After a few sips, Dumbledore spoke to the twins.
"Well, Harry and Leila, a difficulty has arisen which I hope you will be able to solve for us. By us, I mean the Order of the Phoenix…"Dumbledore began.
"Of course we'll help!" Harry interjected.
"Now wait one moment, Harry. First things first; it was revealed a little over a week ago in Sirius' will that he left everything he owned to the two of you," Dumbledore said.
"I'm in Sirius' will?" Leila asked.
"Sirius always spoke very highly of you, Leila," Dumbledore smiled.
"I told you so," Harry whispered.
"Now this should be fairly straightforward. You both will receive a generous amount of gold in your names to the Potter vault at Gringotts and Sirius' personal possessions. The only problematic part is that of the legacy…" Dumbledore continued.
"His godfather's dead? He's dead? His godfather? The mass-murderer?" Uncle Vernon questioned.
"Yes, the one in the same," Dumbledore nodded.
"What about the girl's?" Uncle Vernon asked.
"Harry's godfather is dead; but Leila's godfather is alive and well. I would tell you more about Mr. Lupin and his current whereabouts; but we hardly have the time for that. We're on a tight schedule tonight. Now to our problem, Sirius left Harry Number Twelve Grimmauld Place," Dumbledore said.
A pang of jealousy toyed with Leila's heart over Harry being left Sirius' family home; but she knew that she didn't have a right to be. Sirius was generous enough to even have remembered her in his will; but that twinge of jealousy rested in the pit of her stomach. Leila was distracted from her emotions by Uncle Vernon greedily asking about the house.
"You can keep using it as headquarters, I don't care. You can have it, I don't really want it," Harry said.
That's when the jealousy subsided and was replaced by a feeling of guilt. This must be hard for Harry. Sirius left him the place where he lived for most of his tortured childhood and then as an Azkaban fugitive. There were probably too many memories in that house for Harry and knowing Sirius' misery in that house didn't make things any easier. Leila gently squeezed her brother's arm trying to offer him a small bit of comfort to which he looked and nodded to her.
"That is generous, but we have, however, vacated the building temporarily," Dumbledore said.
"Why?" Harry and Leila asked simultaneously.
Dumbledore then continued to explain on how Grimmauld Place was passed down from generation to generation of the Black family and even though Sirius' will said Harry was the rightful owner; there was a chance Bellatrix Lestrange could be the owner. Luckily, there was an easy way of determining ownership: Kreacher, the house elf at Grimmauld Place. All Harry had to do was give Kreacher an order, and if Kreacher was forced to obey, then Harry was the true owner. Kreacher appeared at the Dursley's home, much to the Dursley's disgust. Kreacher wailed that he wouldn't obey, so Harry commanded Kreacher to shut up. Kreacher was forced to shut up. Harry was the rightful owner. Also, Buckbeak would be returned to Hagrid under the name "Witherwings."
"Now, have both of you your trunks packed?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes, sir," Leila said.
"Erm…" Harry said rubbing his head.
"Doubtful that I would turn up?" Dumbledore suggested shrewdly.
"I'll just go and – erm – finish off," Harry said quickly, running upstairs.
Leila rolled her eyes at her brother and his lack of responsibility while Dumbledore simply chuckled. Leila sat in the room awkwardly with Dumbledore and the Dursley's for ten minutes. Dumbledore asked her about her summer, but she didn't have much to say on the subject, partly because she didn't do much and partly because whatever she wanted to say probably shouldn't be said in front of the Dursleys. So Dumbledore walked and examined the pictures of Dudley that covered the living room while Leila opened her book by Lockhart until an out-of-breath Harry reappeared in the sitting room.
"Professor, I'm ready now," Harry said.
"Good, Just one last thing, then." Dumbledore said turning toward the Dursleys. "As you will no doubt be aware, Harry and Leila come of age in a year's time…"
"No," Aunt Petunia finally spoke.
"I'm sorry?" Dumbledore said politely.
"No, they don't. They're a month younger than Dudley, and Dudders doesn't turn eighteen until the year after next," Aunt Petunia continued.
"Ah, but in the Wizarding World we come of age at seventeen," Dumbledore said.
"That's preposterous," Uncle Vernon muttered.
"Now, as you already know, the wizard called Lord Voldemort has returned to this country. The Wizarding community is currently in a state of warfare. Harry, whom Lord Voldemort has already attempted to kill on a number of occasions along with Leila, are in even greater danger than the day I left them upon your doorstep fifteen years ago, with a letter explaining about his parents' murder and expressing the hope that you would care for them as though they were your own," Dumbledore began.
Leila turned to Harry with her eyes wide. No one ever talked to the Dursley's like this, not ever. If either she or Harry did, they would probably end up back in the cupboard under the stairs or without food for a week. But before she could whisper anything to her brother, Dumbledore continued:
"You did not do as I asked. You have not treated Harry as a son, nor Leila as a daughter. They have known nothing but neglect and often cruelty at your hands…"
"What d'you think you're talking about?" Uncle Vernon shouted.
Professor Dumbledore quickly silenced Uncle Vernon.
"The magic I evoked fifteen years ago means that Harry and Leila have powerful protection while they can still call this house 'home.' However miserable as they've been here, however unwelcome, however badly treated, you have at least, grudgingly, allowed them room. This magic will cease to operate the moment that Harry and Leila turn seventeen; in other words, the moment they become of age. I ask only this, that you allow them both to return once more, to this house, before their seventeenth birthday, which will ensure that the protection continues until that time,"
Leila wanted to burst out laughing, but seeing as the situation was of a serious nature, she refrained. She had never seen the Dursleys looking so shell-shocked before. Dudley sat there confused, while Uncle Vernon looked like he had something stuck in his throat and Aunt Petunia was flushed. Dumbledore interrupted the awkward silence explaining that it was time for them to be leaving. Leila quickly stood up and walked to the entryway with Harry; but before they left, they both turned back to the Dursley's in the living room to say goodbye.
"Bye," Harry said.
"Bye, see you next summer," Leila half-smiled.
The Dursley's didn't say anything or even look at the Potter twins. Leila hadn't expected a reaction from her Muggle relatives so the twins simply followed Dumbledore out the door. They walked out into the street Dumbledore walked at a brisk pace, while Harry and Leila struggled behind him with their trunks. Dumbledore smiled at them and with a wave of his wand, their heavy trunks and bags were magically sent to the Burrow. Leila was glad for the lighter load, but she was slightly confused.
"Sir, why aren't we going with our things to the Burrow?" Leila asked.
"You will, I just need your help at the moment. I did say we were on a tight schedule," Dumbledore said with his eyes twinkling.
"Oh, what are we doing?" Leila asked.
"You'll find out soon, Leila," Dumbledore smiled.
Leila looked at her surroundings on Privet Drive, taking them in for the last time until next summer. The first thing she remembered was the dementors from last summer. She had stupidly left her wand at home when she, Harry, and Dudley were attacked. So Harry had alone had to protect them with a Patronus charm, which he was almost expelled for using. She had tried testifying in Harry's defense, but they (mainly Umbridge and those scared of the toad) didn't think her to be a reliable witness. Professor Dumbledore gently tapped her shoulder causing Leila to turn and face him.
"Miss Potter," Dumbledore said softly
"Sorry, what was that?" Leila asked.
"Take my arm, please," Dumbledore said.
Dumbledore offered her his arm with a gloved hand.
"Sir, your hand?" Leila asked.
"It's a rather thrilling tale, but we have other pressing matters at the moment. Just take my arm," Dumbledore said.
Leila looked at her brother who rolled his eyes so she gently took Dumbledore's arm. Next thing she knew, she felt like she was being forced through a small tube and when they came out they were in some small village which she didn't recognize. Leila felt dizzy and her ears hurt. The pain reminded her of the constant ear infections she had as a child, so cupped her ears with her hands and Harry placed his hand on her elbow in an attempt to steady her.
"Are you both all right?" Dumbledore asked.
"I just need a second," Leila muttered.
"I'm fine. We just apparated, didn't we?" Harry asked.
"Quite successfully too, I might add. Most people vomit the first time," Dumbledore said.
"Can't imagine why," Leila muttered.
Dumbledore smiled and walked away while the twins following closely behind him. Dumbledore turned struck up a conversation with Harry about his scar, causing Harry to walk beside him and Leila to follow. Leila tuned out Harry and Dumbledore and simply tried to take her surroundings in, trying to figure out exactly where Dumbledore took them. She tuned back into Harry and Dumbledore's conversation when she heard Harry mention her name.
"….I'm not complaining, but I think its Leila you should be concerned about," Harry said.
"Harry!" Leila hissed.
"Is there something you wish to tell me, Leila?" Dumbledore asked.
"It's nothing to be concerned about, sir," Leila said.
Dumbledore nodded and kept walking but Harry turned around and glared at her, his eyes trying to convey the message "You should have told him." Leila rolled her eyes at her brother, so Harry decided to continue his conversation with Dumbledore.
"Where exactly are we, sir?" Harry asked.
"Welcome to the charming village of Budleigh Babberton," Dumbledore said.
"Charming? Not exactly my definition of charming. More my definition of creepy," Leila muttered.
"Shut up, Leila. What are we doing here, sir?" Harry asked.
"…We are here to persuade an old colleague of mine to come out of retirement and return Hogwarts," Dumbledore said.
"And you need us?" Harry asked.
"I think we'll find a use for the two of you," Dumbledore said.
Dumbledore continued walking while Harry and Leila walked a few steps behind. Harry looked to his sister in confusion over Dumbledore's comment.
"What do you think he means by that?" Harry asked.
"No idea," Leila said.
"Hip hip, pick up the pace a little," Dumbledore chided.
Harry and Leila picked up the pace only to find Dumbledore taking a quick left. Leila groaned because for being old, Dumbledore could keep a decent pace. Harry quickly caught up to him, but Leila tripped over the sidewalk and fell to the ground. She had a rip in the knee of her jeans, which a little blood was trickling from her leg. She hissed and applied pressure to her injured knee.
"C'mon, Leila," Harry said.
"In case you can't tell, I tripped," Leila said sitting on the ground.
"You're clumsier than Tonks," Harry muttered.
"Thanks, I appreciate the help, Harry." Leila muttered sarcastically.
Leila helped herself up, taking a few steps and wincing at the pain from her knee before she continued to follow Harry and Dumbledore. They walked several more blocks before Dumbledore came to a quick half at their destination causing Leila to almost plow into Harry when they stopped. Harry put his arm out to steady his sister and groaned under his breath. Leila looked at the house which Dumbledore had stopped in front of and something didn't seem right about the place so she looked to Professor Dumbledore.
"Wands out," Dumbledore said.
Leila and Harry pulled out their wands from their jeans pockets and followed Dumbledore slowly into the house. Dumbledore opened the front door and inside they found the house to be completely trashed. Professor Dumbledore carefully led them through the entryway and into the sitting room. Glass shards were scattered about the room and beautiful grand piano lay splintered and keys strewn on the floor. Why would one of Professor Dumbledore's colleagues live like this? Leila was about to ask her question to her headmaster, when he silenced her. She tightly closed her lips and looked to her brother who was tip-toeing over the disheveled room. Dumbledore took a few more steps and told the twins to stay back as he moved forward with his wand lit which he aimed for the overstuffed armchair with slippers in front. Harry and Leila looked at each other in confusion but quickly returned their eyes to Dumbledore's movement. He quickly jabbed his wand into the armchair and the thing began to move and take shape.
"Merlin's beard!" the former armchair shouted.
The Potter twins instinctively backed away from the shouting armchair, while Dumbledore remained calm and stood his ground. Leila grabbed Harry's arm for comfort, while Harry attempted to shield her behind him still with his wand drawn. Professor Dumbledore smiled at the twins before addressing the armchair.
"Good evening, Horace," Professor Dumbledore smiled.
Before them the armchair slowly turned into an elderly man; he wasn't anywhere near as old as Dumbledore, but still quite old. The man was rather overstuffed himself and dressed in silk pajamas which once matched the upholstery of the armchair. Leila watched in slight confusion while Harry's reaction was awe. The man whom Dumbledore called Horace asked what gave him away. She had no idea how Dumbledore could tell, well at least she couldn't tell and she was a fairly intelligent person, second or third in her class depending on the year. She then heard Dumbledore mention something about no Dark Mark in the sky which was a small detail that she had overlooked by the disheveled state of the house. With a flick of his wand Dumbledore put the room back into order. The pieces of chandelier flew into their rightful place and the piano was once more restored to proper order. Leila and Harry stared as everything fit back into its rightful place. Dumbledore looked back to the Potter twins and nodded.
"Oh right. This is an old friend and colleague of mine, Horace Slughorn. Horace, I believe you know who these two are." Dumbledore smiled.
"Of course, the Potter twins: Harry and Leila Potter," Slughorn gasped.
Leila inwardly groaned because she was always mentioned last. There always seemed to be a certain order when mentioning twins: Harry and Leila, Fred and George. Sometimes, it made her feel second best because she was always mentioned second.
"Don't think I don't know why you're here, Albus," Slughorn said.
Dumbledore merely nodded. They soon began discussing Umbridge, that nasty toad woman. She remembered how Umbridge had wanted her to join the Inquisitorial Squad, because of Malfoy; but Leila wanted nothing to do with that nasty woman. Malfoy had saved her butt quite a few times from Umbridge last year, but she too like Harry shared the fading scars on her hand. She absently rubbed the scars on her hand when Dumbledore suddenly stood up.
"Are you leaving?" Slughorn asked.
"I was actually wondering if I might use your bathroom," Dumbledore said.
"Second door on the left," Slughorn responded.
Dumbledore left the room leaving Harry and Leila alone with Slughorn. Leila saw wizarding photographs on a shelf and walked over to look at them, still keeping tabs on Harry's conversation with Slughorn.
"You look very much like your father. Except for your eyes. You've got…" Slughorn began.
"My mother's eyes, yeah," Harry said.
"And you Miss Potter, you too inherited your mother's eyes. She was a very beautiful witch, looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in your case. You look so much like lovely Lily," Slughorn said.
"Thank you, sir," Leila blushed.
"You're not supposed to have favorites, of course, but she was one of mine. Your mother. Charming girl, one of the brightest I ever taught given she was Muggle-born," Slughorn said.
"One of my best friends is Muggle-born, and she's the best in our year," Harry said.
"Funny how that sometimes happens, isn't it?" Slughorn asked.
"Not really," Harry said.
"You mustn't think I'm prejudiced! I just got done telling you your mother was one of my all-time favorite students. See here, she's on the shelf. Anyone who wants to be anybody wants to be on this shelf," Slughorn said walking over to the shelf.
Leila simply moved over to make room for Slughorn and Harry. She stayed in front of the picture of her mother. Her mother appeared to be about her age in the picture and her likeness to her mother was profound. She choked up a little and tried to hold back some tears. This was the age in a girl's life when she could really use her mother, but that was something Leila would never get. Instead of focusing on Harry and Slughorn she stared at her mother's picture until Dumbledore finally came back. He announced that it was time to leave and said something about Slughorn being a lost cause; which by his expression didn't sit too well with Slughorn. Leila and Harry were confused why they were dragged all the way here for nothing, but neither said anything and followed Dumbledore out of the house. They were almost to the sidewalk when Slughorn ran out of the house after them yelling.
"All right, all right, I'll do it!" Slughorn yelled.
Leila, Harry, and Dumbledore turned around to find Slughorn panting for breath.
"But I want a raise; these are mad times we live in. And I want Professor Merrythought's old office, not that water closet I was in last time," Slughorn yelled.
"Then Horace, we shall see you on the first of September," Dumbledore said smiling.
Slughorn remained outside in his silk pajamas watching the group walk away. They lightly chatted and walked to a small church when Dumbledore requested that the Potter twins take his arms again to side-along apparate. Leila rubbed at her ears before grabbing Dumbledore's arm and closed her eyes. When Leila opened her eyes they were standing in a field near the Burrow. Leila assumed that they were just beyond the enchantments put on the Burrow for her and Harry's arrival, so they had to walk and have Dumbledore allow them through the enchantments. Professor Dumbledore stopped just outside the Weasley's tool shed.
"If you don't mind, Harry, I'd like a few words with you before we part. In private…" Dumbledore said.
"I can take a hint. I'll just go inside," Leila said.
Leila quickly walked past her brother and Dumbledore and slowly walked on the beaten path to the back door of the Burrow.