Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, it all belongs to JK Rowling…I'm merely an obsessed fan with ideas stuck in my head.
… … … … … …
Draco stepped forward, making himself visible in the moonlight. He glared at Dumbledore as if he was highly suspicious of him. Leila couldn't remember the last time she had seen Draco looking so cold and withdrawn. Why, only hours ago he had sought her out but this was beyond Leila's comprehension.
"What brings you here on this fine spring evening?" Dumbledore asked.
"Who else is here? I heard you talking." Draco hissed.
"I often talk aloud to myself. I find it extraordinarily useful. But I could also ask the same question of yourself, or are you acting alone?" Dumbledore asked.
"No, I've got backup. There are Death Eaters here in your school tonight." Draco said coldly.
"Well, well, very good indeed. You found a way to let them in, did you?" Dumbledore said calmly.
"Yeah, right underneath your nose." Draco sneered.
"Ingenious, yet…forgive me…where are they now?" Dumbledore asked.
"They won't be long…I came ahead, I – I've got a job to do." Draco stumbled.
"Well, then, you must get on and do it, my dear boy." Dumbledore said softly.
Leila's thoughts couldn't keep up with what was happening. She watched as Draco struggled to keep his wand aimed at Dumbledore. She knew Harry was trying to get away, but they were stuck. She couldn't help but feel guilty, like she was to blame. Leila's heart reached out to Draco, she desperately wanted to help him. All this happened while Dumbledore simply smiled at Draco.
"Draco, Draco, you are not a killer." Dumbledore said.
"How do you know what I am? I've done things that would shock you." Draco rushed.
"Like almost killing Katie Bell and Ronald Weasley? You have been trying with increasing desperation to kill me all year. Forgive me, Draco, but they have been feeble attempts…so feeble that I wonder if your heart has really been in it." Dumbledore stated.
"My heart? What do you know about my heart? My heart has been in it! I've been working on it all year!" Draco hissed.
Draco's mission the entire year had been to try and kill Dumbledore, and he had almost succeeded in taking out a few students along the way, one of those students had been friends with his then girlfriend. Leila felt a tear fall from her face and she moved to wipe it with her hand. Leila slightly panicked; she could move! Leila turned to Harry, who still remained frozen. Leila removed the cloak from herself and quietly took a step forward.
"I need to do this." Leila whispered for only Harry to hear.
Leila was grateful that Harry was still frozen underneath the Invisibility Cloak; because she feared how he might react to this. Leila continued to listen to Draco and Dumbledore's conversation as she slowly climbed the stairs back to where they were.
"But you were saying…yes, you have managed to get Death Eaters into my school, which, I admit, I thought was impossible…How did you do it?" Dumbledore asked.
"The Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement. I've been mending it." Draco rushed.
"Let me guess, it has a sister. A twin." Dumbledore stated.
Leila froze on the stairs, half-wondering if Dumbledore was talking about her, but when Draco continued to talk with the headmaster, she knew that she was in the clear. Draco, was shaking, his wand still pointed at an unarmed Dumbledore.
"In Borgin and Burkes. They form a passage." Draco spat.
"Clever, very clever." Dumbledore nodded.
"Yeah, and, again, right under your nose." Draco hissed.
"Draco, years ago I knew a boy who made all the wrong choices. Please, let me help you." Dumbledore said.
"I don't want your help! Don't you understand? I have to do this." Draco furthered.
"Draco, I implore you to see reason." Dumbledore sighed.
"Reason? Reason? " Draco shouted.
"Miss Potter." Dumbledore said motioning Leila forward.
Leila, who stood at the top of the steps with Draco's back to her, took a step forward into the moonlight. Draco quickly flung around with his wand pointed at her. His eyes widened as he pointed his wand between Leila and Dumbledore. Leila simply held her hands up, not motioning to defend herself.
"What the hell is this? Have you been going to Dumbledore with information on me, Leila? Did you tell him everything you knew?" Draco shouted.
"Draco, do not aim your wand at Miss Potter, leave it at me if you must." Dumbledore sighed.
Still keeping his aim at Dumbledore, Draco stepped closer to Leila.
"Where's your wand?" Draco hissed.
"I—I forgot it." Leila lied.
"Did you really?" Draco asked, unconvinced.
"You can check me if you'd like." Leila said.
Leila raised her arms slowly, giving him the opportunity to check her if he wanted; but Leila's suspicions told her that he wouldn't check her.
"Of all the nights to forget your wand." Draco muttered.
Draco firmly grasped Leila's wrist with his free hand and turned to fully face Dumbledore. Leila tried to release her wrist from Draco's grasp, but he had her wrist gripped so tightly that she couldn't wriggle free.
"Why is she here?" Draco hissed at Dumbledore.
"I should think it to be obvious." Dumbledore said lightly.
"She told you didn't she?" Draco hissed.
"She never told me that she knew you were a Death Eater, if that's what you're asking. I figured that one out on my own. But to answer your question, Miss Potter and I were merely figuring out her future." Dumbledore said.
"Then you let her come here unarmed on tonight of all nights?" Draco sneered.
Dumbledore simply smiled as if he knew something no one else knew.
"Stop smiling and answer me!" Draco shouted.
"Draco, you wondered before why I believed your heart not to be in your mission, and that is because your heart has been elsewhere, with Miss Potter." Dumbledore smiled.
"You don't know anything about my heart!" Draco yelled.
"We'll just agree to disagree because there is little time, and we need to discuss your options, Draco." Dumbledore said.
"My options? I'm standing here with a wand and one of your students – I'm about to kill you-" Draco began.
"My dear boy, let us have no more pretense about that. If you were going to kill me, you would have done it when you first disarmed me." Dumbledore stated.
"I haven't got any options! I've got to do it! I've got to kill you…otherwise, he's going to kill me." Draco finished in a whisper.
Leila quickly closed her eyes to stop the tears that threatened to fall and stopped fighting to get away from Draco. She simply let her arm hang in his firm grasp. She hoped that maybe Dumbledore could make Draco see the reason that she couldn't make him see.
"I appreciate the difficulty of your position. Why else do you think I have not confronted you before now? But that is no matter, no harm has been done, no one hurt…I can help you, Draco." Dumbledore said sincerely.
"No one can help me! I have to do it or he'll kill me!" Draco choked out.
Draco's wand arm began shaking very badly, but Dumbledore continued speaking.
"He cannot kill you if you're already believed dead, which is what Voldemort believed would happen to you during the process. Come to the right side, Draco." Dumbledore said.
Leila turned to face Draco, who still grasped her right wrist. With her left arm, she moved to push Draco's wand arm down. Draco's eyes instantly met with hers when she touched his arm.
"Please, Draco." Leila sniffled.
"Why do you even care?" Draco hissed.
Leila removed her left hand from Draco's arm and fumbled for her necklace, which was buried under her shirt. She pulled the necklace out for him to see, which still had his ring dangling on it. She picked up the ring and pushed it closer to his face.
"Because I still love you." Leila whispered.
"Why?" Draco asked.
"I never stopped; but now's not the time for explanations. Dumbledore's offering you protection. Please take it." Leila said.
"I can send members of the Order to your mother tonight and your father is safe at the moment in Azkaban…When the time comes we can protect him too. Come over to the right side, Draco." Dumbledore said quietly.
Draco appeared to be thinking over what Dumbledore had offered. Leila let her necklace drop and she moved her hand to Draco's face.
"Draco, please." Leila pleaded.
Draco began to slowly lower his wand. But then, the door to the Astronomy Tower slammed open again, and Leila's eyes widened with fear. She could only hope that someone from the Order was quickly rushing to their aid. But wishing and hoping never got one very far.
"Well, look what we have here? Well done, Draco." Bellatrix said breathlessly.
Draco wiped Leila's hand from his face and returned his wand to Dumbledore. Bellatrix roughly grabbed Leila, tearing her from Draco's grasp, causing Leila to scream in pain. Bellatrix held Leila by her neck, with her wand pointed at Leila's throat. Leila began to breathe harder, as several more Death Eaters forced their way into the Astronomy Tower. Leila tried to fight Bellatrix, but the more she fought, the harder Bellatrix's wand point jabbed at her throat.
"Good evening, Bellatrix. I think introductions are in order, don't you?" Dumbledore said lightly.
"Love to Albus, but I'm afraid we're on a bit of a tight schedule." Bellatrix said.
"Pity." Dumbledore said.
"Do it, Draco! I'll hold on to this, while you finish the job." Bellatrix cackled.
Draco turned around to face his aunt, his eyes wide in horror. His face was almost blanched beyond recognition.
"You'd better get on with it, before we might have some fun with this one." Bellatrix smiled.
Draco reluctantly turned his wand back to Dumbledore. Leila understood the pressure Bellatrix had just made for Draco. Not only did he have to kill Dumbledore or otherwise die, but he had to kill Dumbledore or something would happen to Leila. Leila half-wished she were still under the cloak with Harry. The one time she did something on impulse, it landed her here. She could only hope that things worked out better than they were looking. Draco still stood there, with his wand arm slightly shaking.
"He doesn't have the stomach, just like his father. Maybe I should just do it." A werewolf, whom Leila knew to be Fenrir Greyback, laughed.
"No! The Dark Lord was clear; the boy is to do it." Bellatrix gasped.
Bellatrix pushed Leila forward as she made her way closer to Draco. With every step, Bellatrix's wand jabbed more and more into Leila's throat. Leila felt as if she was choking.
"This is your moment. Do it. Then maybe we'll look with mercy on this half-blood." Bellatrix whispered to Draco.
Draco looked to Leila, who was trying to shake her head. She wanted Draco to know that he didn't have to listen to Bellatrix. He should be free to make his own decision.
"Go on Draco, now!" Bellatrix commanded.
Draco began to shake even harder when another person walked into the light from the shadows: Professor Snape. Leila looked at him with pleading, tearful eyes and she could have sworn she saw him inhale sharply, but he quickly moved to Draco's side. Draco lowered his wand.
"Severus." Dumbledore pleaded.
Snape didn't say a word as he pushed Draco out of the way. Bellatrix still held a firm grasp on Leila, who looked between Snape and Dumbledore.
"Severus, please." Dumbledore pleaded again.
Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore.
Green light shot from Snape's wand and hit Professor Dumbledore square in the chest. Leila watched in horror as the light left Dumbledore's eyes as he fell backwards off of the Astronomy Tower. She tried to lunge forward;, but Bellatrix's grip on her was too tight and she ended up choking herself. Leila tried to scream, but she had no air as Bellatrix grabbed her hair and thrust her head back up.
"Out of here, quickly." Snape said.
Snape grabbed Malfoy by his collar and forced him down the stairs. Bellatrix dragged Leila along with the rest of the Death Eaters. Leila mustered up the little energy she could to fight back and escape, but her attempt was futile. Bellatrix dragged her as she marched through the halls of Hogwarts, destroying everyting in sight. Bellatrix held onto her until they got into the Great Hall.
"Draco." Bellatrix called.
Snape roughly released Draco, and pushed him toward his aunt. Bellatrix pushed Leila into Draco, still keeping her wand pointed at Leila.
"I want to have a little fun. Hold onto this. She may be of help to appease the Dark Lord." Bellatrix said.
Leila looked into Draco's eyes. She could tell that inwardly, he was panicking, and thinking about what he really should do. Alas, he picked Leila up and roughly threw her over his shouler. She tried to jump off him, but he knew her well enough to know that she would try this. Bellatrix marched up and down the Gryffindor table, destroying everything that wasn't Slytherin. The House jewels were strewn all over the floor; while bits of glass from the windows shattered. Draco tried to shield them from the glass; but Leila felt a shard of glass tear at her face. Snape came to their rescue shielding them both from the rest of the glass that flew at them. Draco, quickly made his exit out of the castle, still carrying Leila. Snape was quickly walking beside them, with his eyes glancing at Leila every now and then. She hoped that Snape couldn't notice that her arm was slowly moving toward her right sock, which held her wand. Suddenly, Bellatrix ran forward to Hagrid's hut and the place flickered with flames. Bellatrix cackled loudly, but she could here Harry shouting spells and yelling for Snape. Draco turned around to see Harry chasing after them when Leila finally grabbed her wand.
"Tarentallegra!" Leila shouted, her wand pointed at Draco.
Draco's legs began to dance uncontrollably and he let go of Leila as he tried to stop it. She fell in a heap to the hard ground. Leila quickly began to crawl away to reach her wand as Snape quickly performed the countercurse on Draco. Draco moved to grab Leila again, when Snape yelled at him to run. Draco looked between Leila and Snape hesitantly and ran to catch up with the Death Eaters ahead of him. Leila stood to run, when one of Harry's leg-locking curses meant for Snape hit her. She fell over to the ground again just inches from being able to reach her wand, while Snape continued to deflect the many spells Harry threw his way. Harry had almost reached Snape, when Bellatrix shot an Unforgiveable at Harry. Harry fell to the ground screaming and writhing in pain.
"Have you forgotten your orders? Potter belongs to the Dark Lord!" Snape shouted.
"But the girl…" Bellatrix began.
"Also belongs to the Dark Lord." Snape drawled.
Bellatrix looked as if she were going to reach for Leila; but thought better of it and ran away, the same way Draco went. Snape swiftly turned away, his cloak billowing in the wind; when Harry stood up.
"Sectum-!" Harry began.
Snape quickly deflected the spell; causing Harry to once again go flying to the ground, his wand knocked out of his hands. Leila tried to move to her wand; using her arms to drag her.
"You dare you my own spell against me?" Snape drawled.
"Wait, that means…" Leila began out of breath.
"Yes. I'm the Half-Blood Prince." Snape said slowly.
Harry aimed another spell at Snape, but he deflected it again.
"Kill me then. Kill me like you killed him, you coward—" Harry panted.
"DON'T CALL ME A COWARD!" Snape screamed.
Harry flew further back and landed with a thump; when Professor Snape turned to Leila. He walked closer to Leila, with his gaze focused on her. Leila still struggled to reach her wand, but Professor Snape kicked her wand away and left. Harry soon stood up and looked between Leila and Snape. He had one of two choices, so he raced to his sister. Harry handed Leila her wand and performed the countercurse to the spell he had accidentally shot at her earlier. Harry then took off in a sprint after Snape, but Harry was hardly a few feet before Snape disapparated. Leila's hand moved to her face, which was trickling blood. Harry walked back, the whole time, never making eye contact with his sister.
"C'mon." Harry muttered.
Harry staggered back toward the castle. Leila took one last look toward the gates, hoping that Draco would appear from the darkness; but he never came. Leila ran to catch up to her brother. When she reached him, she felt extrememly light headed and almost fell back to the ground. Harry caught her before she could fall. He brought his hand to the blood on her face. A cut ran along her head from right below her temple down to her cheek.
"I'm not any good at healing." Harry said.
"Just help me back to the castle." Leila mumbled.
Harry walked with Leila leaning heavily against him all the way back to the castle. They arrived in the courtyard to find that students and teachers were congregated there. Leila looked up in the sky to find the Dark Mark almost directly overhead. She knew the tower above them to be the Astronomy Tower. Leila quickly stopped and caused Harry to be pulled back. She knew that Dumbledore was there, dead. It seemed too much to bear and her dizziness overcame her. Leila fainted, falling forward into her brother's arms. Harry called for help and Neville came rushing over. Neville bent over to where Harry was placing Leila on the pavement. Harry looked at Neville frantically.
"Go on, Harry, I have her." Neville said.
Harry looked hesitant to leave his sister, but Neville picked Leila up in his arms. Harry pushed past the crowd to where Dumbledore lay, while Neville pushed through with a limp Leila in his arms to where Madam Pomfrey stood. Neville had almost made it to Madam Pomfrey when teachers and students alike raised their wands high to destroy the Dark Mark. He looked to Leila, who still was unconscious and bleeding. Madam Pomfrey took notice and quickly ran to them. She examined Leila's head and motioned for Neville to follow her back to the Hospital Wing.
Leila awoke to find Remus, Harry, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Fleur, and all the Weasleys in the hospital wing. Hermione was the first to notice she was awake. She yelped and hugged Leila. Mrs. Weasley gently shoved Hermione over and enveloped Leila in a hug.
"What're you all doing here?" Leila asked.
Mrs. Weasley moved back to the bed next to Leila's, which was occupied by Bill who was currently being treated by Madam Pomfrey. Leila clasped her hand over her mouth in shock. Leila attempted to sit up; but Remus pushed her back down.
"That was a nasty cut to your head; you need to lie down and get some rest." Remus said.
Leila tried to protest, but Remus wouldn't hear of it. She didn't know how long she lay there chatting lightly about nothing of importance. Leila wanted to discuss what had happened, especially with her brother. She tried, but Remus told her that there would be time for that later. Leila rolled over onto her side, thinking of Draco. At first, in the Astronomy Tower she had felt sympathy toward him; but that had been melted by the anger that burned within her. He had been willing to risk her life just to save his own. He was a coward, and he used her. She had helped him find a book on Vanishing Cabintets! He had tried to kill one of her best friends! Then he had watched as Snape killed Dumbledore! She felt incredibly stupid and guilty. She felt it was her fault that Dumbledore had died. If she hadn't broken up with Draco, maybe he wouldn't have been able to mend the Vanishing Cabinet, and then maybe Dumbledore wouldn't be dead. How could she have let a boy get in the way of everything that was important to her? In the corner of her eye, she saw Draco's ring still on her necklace. She then attempted to rip the necklace off.
"Get it off!" Leila cried.
Hermione rushed over as Leila struggled to get the necklace off.
"Settle down, Leila." Hermione whispered.
Leila stopped moving, still breathing hard, and tears streaming down her face. Hermione pushed Leila's hair off to the side and removed the necklace. Hermione attempted to hand it back to Leila, but Leila refused to take the necklace.
"I don't want it." Leila said.
Hermione reluctantly tucked it in her jacket pocket. Leila remembered that she had something in her jacket pocket; but she couldn't find her jacket anywhere. Madam Pomfrey walked over to an upset Leila, gave her a Dreamless Sleep potion, and told her to get some sleep. Leila attempted to fight sleep, but it was no use and she was soon fast asleep. Leila awoke the next morning to find Fred Weasley sleeping in the chair next to her. She looked at him puzzled and then whispered his name. He immediately jolted awake.
"Fred, why are you sleeping there?" Leila asked.
"Mum wanted to make sure someone was watching you and I volunteered." Fred answered.
"What about Harry?" Leila asked.
"Mum forced him back to Gryffindor Tower, saying that he's student and not a patient. How're you feeling?" Fred yawned.
"Fine. I'm fine." Leila said.
"You're lying, Leila Potter." Fred whispered leaning closer to her.
"No I'm not. Besides, how would you know if I was?" Leila questioned.
"Because Harry told us what you went through; and if it was me, I wouldn't be ok." Fred said.
"Well, I'm not you." Leila retorted.
"No you're not; but I think we've been friends long enough for me to be able to tell." Fred smiled.
Leila turned her head to look out the window. The day looked beautiful outside, yet the sky would never tell the tale of what had happened the night before.
"If you ever need to talk about it, we can talk now, owl later, or whatnot." Fred said.
"You shouldn't want to talk to me." Leila said hanging her head.
"And why is that?" Fred asked.
"Because I—I—" Leila stumbled.
"Were sneaking around with Draco Malfoy behind everyone's backs?" Fred finished.
"You know?" Leila asked in disbelief.
"Yeah, Ginny mentioned it in her letter weeks ago. I'll admit, at first I was pissed as hell, but looking back on my Hogwarts days, I suppose you and he were inevitable." Fred shrugged.
"No, we were a mistake." Leila whispered.
"Don't beat yourself up over it, I've made plenty myself. Just don't tell my mum." Fred smiled.
"I just keep replaying last night over and over again in my head, and I hate myself for what I did." Leila said.
"You shouldn't." Fred sighed.
"I was cowardly and selfish!" Leila hissed.
"That's not what Harry told us. Things may not have ended so well; but Harry's proud of you. He might not say it to you, but it's a twin thing, which you should just know. And that is one thing I do happen to understand." Fred said.
"I just wish I could go back in time and change this all." Leila muttered.
"Well, if I recall correctly about this time last year you and a group of rebel Hogwarts students, following in my and George's footsteps, destroyed all the time turners last year. So you're out of luck there." Fred joked.
"Shut up." Leila said rolling her eyes.
"But on a serious note, will you write me this summer Leila?" Fred asked.
"Fred." Leila sighed.
"Write, that's all. You know, an owl here and there." Fred said.
"We'll see." Leila said.
Over the next few days before Dumbledore's funeral, many Hogwarts students left the castle, specifically the Slytherins. Yet, Hogsmeade seemed to fill up to it's capacity as witches and wizards from all over the world poured in to pay their respects to Dumbledore. The funeral finally arrived and they all gathered by the lake. Dumbledore's white tomb glittered in the sunlight on an island in the lake. Leila took a seat next in between her brother and Hermione. She and Harry hadn't yet talked about that night. It was a subject they were both rather keen to avoid. The ceremony was beautiful and many famous witches and wizards were in attendance. Leila looked around her as Ron comforted Hermione, by holding her hand and as Ginny rested her head on Harry's shoulder. She really felt awkward and out-of-place. For a brief second she wished that Draco was there to hold her hand or to let her use his shoulder to rest her head on; but then she remembered his part in all this. When the ceremony ended Harry was greeted by the Minister of Magic, but Leila ducked away, not really up for that type of meeting. Leila dodged in between the crowd, trying to get away when she literally ran into someone.
"I'm sorry…" Leila mumbled before looking up to see whom she had run into.
"It's all right, Leila." Daphne said.
"Daphne, what are you doing here?" Leila asked, clearly surprised.
"I'm here for Dumbledore's funeral." Daphne said.
"Why, it's not like you ever cared for him." Leila scoffed.
"I'm here because you are." Daphne sighed.
"Well, it doesn't earn you any points in my book." Leila said rolling her eyes.
Leila turned away from Daphne and took a few steps.
"You may not want to be my friend anymore, Leila. But I'm going to try and be your friend anyway." Daphne called.
"Whatever. Is that all? Are you finished?" Leila questioned.
"And I figured you might need the password to get back into the Slytherin dungeon since you left some things." Daphne added.
"Why even bother? Whatever I left down there is probably ruined." Leila retorted.
"It's not; I looked after your things." Daphne said.
Leila sighed and glared at Daphne. She really did want her Firebolt back.
"Fine." Leila muttered.
Leila and Daphne silently walked down to the Slytherin dungeon. Leila realized that she probably should have told someone where she was going, in case this was some sort of trap, but she figured that she could take on Daphne if need be. They arrived outside the Slytherin common room, when Daphne said a password that Leila had never used and then they walked in. The common room looked as if nothing had changed, as if none of the drama that had happened over the past month had ever occurred. Leila walked with Daphne back to the dormitory they had once shared, not knowing what to say nor wanting to say anything. When Leila entered the room she found her Firebolt and a rucksack of Daphne's to pack some of her belongings in. She grabbed them both and left the room. When they got back into the common room, Leila set the bag down, rummaging through it and taking things out.
"Just give me second and you'll have your bag back." Leila mumbled.
"Don't worry about it, you can have it." Daphne said.
"I have my own bag." Leila said under her breath.
"I figured you might need some more room." Daphne whispered.
"Room for what?" Leila asked.
"He left all his things you know. They're all in there." Daphne said.
"What are you talking about?" Leila asked.
"Draco. He left in such a hurry that all his belongings are still in his dormitory." Daphne responded.
"And why did you think that I would care?" Leila asked, rolling her eyes.
"Because you still care about him." Daphne shrugged.
"No, I don't. He chose his side that night and I stopped caring." Leila shot back.
"You do know what they say, right?" Daphne asked calmly.
"What?" Leila demanded coldly.
"That you never forget your first love." Daphne replied.
"I don't love Draco anymore." Leila said, more trying to convince herself.
"If you say so. Well, this is where I'll leave you. I hope that you have a nice summer, Leila." Daphne said.
Daphne turned around and was almost to the exit, when Leila called to her.
"Daphne!" Leila called.
"Yeah?" Daphne asked, turning around to face Leila with a slight smile on her face.
"Thank you; but just so you know, this doesn't—it doesn't change anything between us." Leila said.
Daphne simply nodded and walked away, her long golden hair swinging as she walked. Leila watched as she walked away, and then she was alone, Daphne's words still ringing in her head. She didn't care about Draco! She was furious with him, beyond furious! Leila looked around to make sure that no one was watching as she walked to what used to be the sixth year Slytherin boys dormitory. Leila drew her wand as she got closer to the door, not one hundred percent positive that the place was empty. She slowly opened the door, half expecting something to pop out at her; but nothing did. The room was quite bare, except for Draco's belongings. Leila wondered what would happen to them. Would they remain here? Or would a house-elf remove them? She examined Draco's things, seeing as she had never looked very closely before. His bulletin board was draped with a Slytherin flag, Quidditch team pennants, wizarding photos of him and his gang, and an old "Harry Potter stinks; Support Cedric Diggory!" badge.
Leila sighed, and in her peripheral vision she caught sight of Draco's trunk under his bed. She quickly knelt to the floor and pulled it out. The trunk had 'Draco Lucius Malfoy' etched onto a silver plaque in an elegent manuscript. She opened the trunk and dug through a mound of black robes to find his Slytherin Quidditch jersey on the bottom. Leila felt her heart tug. Thinking of Quidditch reminded her of Draco. She and Draco had both been added to the Slytherin roster their second year. Draco had postponed the Gryffindor match third year because of the hippogriff accident, only for Leila to not be allowed to play in the rematch. Draco had saved her from being trampled at the Quidditch World Cup. Draco had penned the horrible Weasley is our King and got Harry, Fred, and George banned from Quidditch fifth year. And this year, even though he hardly played, Leila remembered that she liked Draco during try-outs because his smell reminded her of the smell that had wafted from the Amorentia.
Leila dug once more through his trunk to find a photo album much like the ones Hagrid had given her and Harry of their parents. She opened it and the first picture was one of her and Draco walking in together at the Yule Ball, both with smiles, surprisingly. The second picture was one of them laughing from first year, with Draco's head popping in and out of the picture. The next page was one of the Slytherin Quidditch team from second year. She flipped a few more pages to find a Daily Prophet clipping of her from the Triwizard Tournament, where she was standing next to Draco. She flipped through the whole album. Every single picture contained a picture of her and, surprisingly, most of them included Draco. She didn't even remember him being around in half of these pictures, but apparently he had been. He'd always been there.
Leila buried her head in her hands. Daphne had been right. She did still care. She cared too much. Leila quickly grabbed the photo album and his Quiddtch jersey and shoved them into the bag Daphne had given her. She couldn't explain why she was taking them, but she felt that she needed them and hoped that Harry never found out. She roughly shoved his open trunk under the bed and took one last glance around the room. Nothing gave away that Draco was more than a rich, teenage wizard. Nothing at all. It shouldn't have been like this, but it was what it was. Leila quickly left the dungeons without looking back.
When she reached the entrance hall, she found Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Leila checked to make sure that the bag containing the things belonging to Draco was tightly shut and then she walked over to join them.
"Where have you been, Leila?" Hermione asked.
Leila lifted her Firebolt toward Hermione, who nodded in understanding. Leila walked to where her trunk was stacked next to the others' and set her broom and bag down. Harry, Hermione, and Ron were starting up the stairs.
"You coming?" Ron asked.
Leila quickly followed them up the stairs. The four made their way to the Astronomy Tower. Leila had not been up there since that dreaded night; and she was having second thoughts about going up there with them. What if it brought back too many painful memories? It was as if Hermione could read her mind, because she squeezed Leila's hand and smiled.
"It'll be all right." Hermione whispered.
When they got up to the top of the Astronomy tower, they all leaned against the railing and looked over the edge, not sure of what to say, but sure of the comfort they found in the silence. Leila looked to her brother, who glanced back at her.
"Harry?" Leila asked.
"Yeah?" Harry replied.
"Are you mad at me?" Leila whispered.
"No, why would you think that?" Harry asked.
"Because we've never talked about that night." Leila sighed.
"I figured that since you were there, things could kinda go without being said." Harry shrugged.
Leila turned around and faced toward the inside of the tower to watch as Ron moved to sit on the steps. The day was almost perfect with its gentle breeze and picturesque scenes. Leila closed her eyes and breathed in slowly.
"Do you think Draco would have done it?" Hermione asked.
"No, he was lowering his wand." Harry said.
"But why?" Ron said.
"Leila. I could see it on his face that he loved her. I guess she changed him." Harry said.
"I never thought I'd hear those words come from your mouth." Ron smiled.
"How can you be talking about Draco as if he did nothing wrong? He let the Death Eaters into the castle!" Leila exclaimed.
"Because, in the end, it was Snape. It was always Snape." Harry said.
Harry fumbled with the locket and handed it to Leila.
"So it was you who took my jacket?" Leila asked.
"Yeah, but you should know that it's a fake. Open it." Harry said.
Leila opened the locket to find a piece of parchment hidden inside. She unfolded the parchment and read aloud:
To the Dark Lord,
I know I will be dead before you read this
But I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret.
I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can
I face death in the hope that when you meet your match
You will be mortal once more.
Leila bit her lip in frustration. Harry had waited until now to tell her that everything they had done that night was pointless. He knew and hadn't told her?
"Why did you wait until now to tell me?" Leila asked.
"I figured you'd been a bit preoccupied." Harry said.
"R.A.B.?" Hermione finally asked.
"I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine." Harry said.
"Do we know an R.A.B.?" Ron asked.
"Who knows? But whoever they are, they have the real Horcrux." Leila sighed.
"Which means it was all a waste, all of it." Harry responded.
Ron stood back up and walked over to join them again as they looked out onto the Hogwarts landscape.
"It'll be odd to see what happens to this place now." Hermione stated.
"I'm not coming back Hermione. I got to finish whatever it is that Dumbledore started, and I don't know where that will lead me. I'll let you all know where I am, when I can." Harry said.
"I've always admired your courage, Harry; but sometimes you can be really thick." Hermione said shaking her head.
"You don't really think that you're going to find all those Horcruxes by yourself do you?" Ron asked.
"Now isn't the time to try and do the noble thing by trying to keep us safe. Dumbledore also trusted us with this too." Leila added.
"You need us Harry." Hermione finished.
Harry took a few moments to think over the conversation. He simply nodded and returned to Hermione's original conversation.
"I never realized how beautiful this place was." Harry said.
"Way to change the subject. So are we coming?" Leila asked.
"You're coming." Harry nodded.
"Oh, Leila, before I forget." Hermione said.
Hermione handed Leila the jacket she had been missing since the night they journeyed into the cave. The jacket which once held the Horcrux that had turned out to be a fake. Leila stood there in peace with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. No one spoke; they all just took in one of the last days of peace they would probably get for some time. Leila gazed out onto the lake, not knowing the next time things would ever be this peaceful again, nor whether or not she would ever be at Hogwarts with her present company again. Leila felt inside the pocket of the jacket that Hermione had handed back to her. Hermione had placed Draco's ring inside. She pulled the ring out of her pocket and examined it. What a year she and Draco had had together, but there was no good in focusing on what was. Rather, she needed to focus on the here and now, for she and Draco would be nothing but a dream.
Sequel: Lost Along the Way is posted.