Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all that it entails belong to JK Rowling, except for Miss Leila Mae Potter.
… … … … …
Leila sat at the desk that occupied the space beneath the window in the bedroom she shared with her twin brother Harry at number four, Privet Drive. With a quill in hand, she gazed out the window to the dark cloudy sky. Things were always dark and dreary these days. Her gaze flickered over to the Daily Prophet, which Harry had been reading earlier. The Prophet seemed to be worse than ever these days. Apparently Rita Skeeter had gotten her job back and was writing nasty things again. Leila sighed and put her quill on the parchment. She was trying to write a letter to Fred Weasley. For the few short weeks that she had been at Privet Drive, she had corresponded with Fred at least once a day. She knew that Fred liked her; but Leila wasn't sure how she felt about Fred, nor if she was ready for another relationship. Her last relationship had been…maybe that's why she written to Fred so often, to distract her from wallowing in self-pity, betrayal, and guilt when she was reminded of her past relationship with Draco Malfoy. Draco Malfoy, the boy she loved to hate, yet hated that she loved. Leila slammed her quill to the desk in frustration and clenched her hands tightly in fists. Her body began to shake uncontrollably, but the tears never came.
"Damnit." Leila hissed.
She kicked the desk, causing the papers that were on it to go flying all over the already cluttered floor. A light knock came on the door. Leila rolled her eyes and quickly opened the door. She found a cup of tea on the floor in front of her and heard Dudley's door quickly shut. Leila picked up the cup and marched over to Dudley's door. She normally avoided the Dursleys at all costs, but this wasn't the first time a present had been left at their door. Normally, Harry never looked when he left the room and he usually ended up stepping on the cup, causing shattered shards of china to cover the floor in front of their door. Without even knocking, Leila flung Dudley's door open to find him grabbing a controller to his video game system. Dudley looked at Leila with slight fear in his eyes.
"What the hell is this?" Leila sneered.
"T-Tea." Dudley stammered.
"I'm not stupid Dudley. Why have you been leaving these outside my door? Trying to booby-trap it?" Leila hissed.
"I—I just thought that maybe y—you would like s—some t—tea." Dudley struggled with his words.
Leila eyed Dudley carefully, looking for anything that would tell her that he was lying. But after looking him over, Leila found Dudley to be acting sincere. She was completely blown away by the fact that her cousin was being nice to her. He normally wasn't as bad to her as he was to Harry, but this was still a change for her heavy cousin. Leila's gaze moved to the tea cup she held in her hand and then back to Dudley, who simply watched her wide-eyed.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to accuse you." Leila mumbled.
Leila turned and quickly left Dudley's room, tip-toeing across the hall back to her room. She walked into her room, closed the door, leaned against it, and closed her eyes as a tear streamed down her cheek. Everything just seemed so messed up and she knew that nothing could go back the way things were. The only way to go was forward into the unknown. Leila opened her eyes and screamed to find Harry seated in the chair she had previously occupied. The papers that once lay on the floor were neatly stacked on the desk. When she finally caught her breath, she walked up to their bunk bed and swung herself onto the top bunk. Harry looked to his sister, who was sitting cross-legged on her bed leaning her head against the wall.
"Leila, we've talked about this." Harry sighed.
"Talked about what?" Leila asked.
"You need to stop beating yourself up over that night." Harry said.
"I'm not." Leila snapped.
"Just like you're not lying to me?" Harry asked.
"Dumbledore's dead because of my stupidity. I stupidly thought that I could change him or that I could change things. It's my fault!" Leila cried.
"I thought the same thing when Sirius died." Harry said.
"This is different Harry." Leila muttered.
"What it is doesn't matter. What you did or didn't do with Draco doesn't matter because he didn't do it. It was Snape. Snape killed Dumbledore, not Draco." Harry stated.
"Then why does it feel like it's my fault?" Leila whispered.
Harry couldn't respond to Leila because at that moment, their Uncle Vernon began bellowing out to Harry from the living room downstairs. His calls for Harry—"BOY!" —echoed through the entire house. Leila looked to her brother and shrugged as he rolled his eyes and left the room. She listened to make sure Harry had gone down the stairs and jumped off the bed. She pulled her trunk out from underneath the bed and rummaged around until she found a bag on the bottom. She looked over her shoulder to make sure that Harry wasn't back and opened the bag. Inside the bag was everything she had left from her relationship with Draco: a photo album, his Quidditch jersey, and his ring. No matter how furious she was with her ex-boyfriend she found comfort in these treasured items. His Quidditch jersey still smelled like him and pictures of the two of them still brought a smile to her face. Leila flipped a couple of pages through the album to find the picture they had taken together fifth year as Slytherin prefects. She sighed and shoved everything back in the bag and the bag back into the bottom of her trunk. She walked back over to the desk and reread the last letter that Fred had sent her.
George and I arrived back at the Burrow last night and Mum's already got us working like mad. We were thinking of giving her a Fainting Fancy just to give her nerves a break, but she noticed when we slipped it in her morning tea. Ginny reckons that she'll never accept anything from us again. Enough about me; how're the Muggles? How many more times has your uncle changed his mind since yesterday? How's Harry? And most importantly how are you? I really do miss you, Leila. You couldn't possibly fathom how exited I am to be able to spend some time snogging you! (Sorry, that was George. He says hello.)Well, I suppose I'll finish this with I'll be seeing you soon!
Leila didn't know what to think of Fred's letter. She knew that she would be seeing him soon, but she wondered whether or not he would be expecting something from her that she couldn't give. Leila looked again at her belongings and then to the items Harry had carelessly laid on the floor.
I really should pack… Her thoughts reverberated around her head, and she began to pack for the unknown journey which lay before her. She was going Horcrux hunting with Harry, Hermione, and Ron. They needed to find the objects where Voldemort had hidden bits of his soul in, in order to make him mortal once more. The only tricky thing was that they had nothing to go off of. The one thing she and Harry had risked their lives for turned out to be a fake. Leila could feel her eyes beginning to sting with unshed tears. It seemed like all she ever did these days when she had time to herself was cry. She didn't want to look weak in front of her brother, but she knew that Harry knew. Leila moved back to her trunk and poured out its contents onto the floor, but quickly shoved the bag with Draco's belongings under the bed, in case Harry came back.
She found her Hogwarts robes and threw them in the pile where Harry's robes were heaped. Her cauldron and supplies she put in a pile to save. Most of her textbooks she tossed aside because she knew that more than likely Hermione was going to pack them and they should probably pack light. Leila grabbed hold of her navy blue dress robes. The dress robes she had worn to the Yule Ball in her fourth year, which painfully reminded her of Draco, with whom she had been forced to go with. Leila's hands instantly flew to her hair, which she quickly ran her fingers through, tugging hard. Everything in her life seemed to revolve around Draco! It had been almost two months since she had broken up with him and about a month since he had betrayed her; yet here she was pining for someone she should never have had in the first place. Leila shoved the dress robes under the mound of Hogwarts robes and moved on to her Muggle clothes. She packed most of her Muggle clothes, rolled tightly into her bag.
Leila was about to reach in her trunk once more when Harry called for her from downstairs. Leila sighed because she knew that Harry wanted her to go downstairs to try and make Uncle Vernon see reason. She had heard yelling from downstairs throughout the entire time she was sorting out her trunk, but had not felt compelled to wander downstairs. Leila grudgingly stood up and left the bedroom that she shared with her brother, to meander downstairs. She couldn't figure out why she should even bother; Uncle Vernon only seemed to change his mind about leaving or staying every other minute. Leila walked into the living room, which was practically bare like most of the house, to find all the Dursleys and Harry standing. Uncle Vernon narrowed his eyes, while Aunt Petunia pursed her lips, and Dudley just stood there not looking at her.
"What did you want, Harry?" Leila asked.
"Just tell them what I've been trying to tell them for the past few days. Maybe you can knock some sense into their thick heads." Harry growled.
"And you wonder why they won't listen to you." Leila muttered.
"This isn't about me, it's about them! They need to leave otherwise…" Harry began.
"All right, I get it! Now, Uncle Vernon, I obviously can't force you to do anything, but I'm going to tell you the exact same thing as Harry. When Harry and I turn seventeen, the protective charm that keeps us safe will break. When that breaks, that exposes all of us: me, Harry, you, Aunt Petunia, and Dudley. It is of the Order's belief that you would be one of Voldemort's first targets. He will torture you and hold you hostage thinking that we'll come to your rescue. So please, just accept the protection." Leila said.
Uncle Vernon walked over to the fireplace where the pictures of Dudley once covered the mantle. He rested his grubby hands one the white wood, apparently thinking things over. Aunt Petunia glanced between her husband and the twins; but Petunia's gaze rested on Leila longer than the others, as if there was something she wanted to say but the words never came from her mouth. Dudley leaned against the wall with his hands shoved into his pants pockets. The silent minutes passed awkwardly until Uncle Vernon walked back to his wife's side.
"All right, Let's say, for the sake of argument, that we accept this protection. I still don't see why we can't have that Kingsley bloke." Uncle Vernon said to Harry.
"As I've already told you, Kingsley is protecting the Mug—I mean, your Prime Minister." Harry said through gritted teeth.
"Exactly – he's the best!" Uncle Vernon said.
Uncle Vernon had often seen Kingsley accompanying the Prime Minister on the television. Kingsley was one of the few wizards who had mastered dressing like a Muggle. He was also the only wizard the Dursleys ever somewhat took to, meaning that they didn't often complain about him. Leila tried to remain calm during this situation. It would do no good for everyone to get all riled up.
"Well, he's taken. But Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle are more than up to the job." Harry said.
"They both are very talented and capable Order members; you will be in safe hands." Leila added.
"But if we'd only seen…" Uncle Vernon began.
Uncle Vernon pointed to the only piece of furniture left in the room: the television. The Muggle news never gave proper reports on the deaths and disappearances, but how could they? They Wizarding world was to be kept secret. Leila could tell that Harry's blood was now boiling at their unbelieving uncle. Harry just about exploded with rage as he stepped closer to Uncle Vernon.
"These accidents aren't accidents – the crashes and explosions and derailments and whatever else has happened since we last watched the news. People are disappearing and dying and he's behind it – Voldemort. I've told you this over and over again; he kills Muggles for fun. Even the fogs – they're caused by dementors, and if you can't remember what they are, ask your son!" Harry shouted.
Dudley's hands instantly flew to his mouth at the mention of the dementors. All eyes were focused on Harry and he drew in a ragged breath and took a step back from Uncle Vernon.
"There are…more of them?" Dudley asked barely above a whisper.
"More? More than the two that attacked us, you mean? Of course there are, there are hundreds, maybe thousands by this time, seeing as they feed off fear and despair…" Harry began.
As Harry began his speech about the dementors, Leila took notice to something out-of-place outside. She walked over to the window and stared out into the distance, where she could have sworn that she saw...Whatever she thought she had seen was no longer there. Maybe she was just seeing things… Maybe it was her hearts wishful thinking… But then in the sky she recognized an all-too-familiar owl soaring in the distance. She could feel her anger beginning to slowly boil inside her. Leila was about to motion Harry to come and join her at the window when it seemed like the Uncle Vernon pendulum of going/staying began to swing in the other direction.
"But what about my work? What about Dudley's school? I don't suppose those things matter to a bunch of lay about wizards….And what about the house? They probably just want to steal…" Uncle Vernon began his long-winded rant.
"Don't you understand? They will torture and kill you like they did my parents!" Leila screamed.
All eyes were on Leila after her sudden outburst. Leila typically wasn't the one to snap like that (she normally left that job to Harry), but her anger had gotten the better of her. She looked at everyone in the room and then looked back outside, where the eagle still soared high in the sky.
"Dad, Dad—I'm going with these Order people." Dudley said.
"Dudley, for the first time in your life, you're talking sense. They'll be here in five minutes." Harry said.
The Dursleys quickly moved to finish any last minute packing as Harry saw his sister still watching out the window and moved across the room to her. He looked out the window confusedly at first until she pointed out what she had seen. Harry narrowed his eyes and Leila bit her lip.
"Is that…" Harry began.
"Yes. I'm almost positive it's his." Leila whispered.
"You don't think that he can get here, do you, with Death Eaters?" Harry asked.
"We're still underage; the protection shouldn't be broken, the magic to keep it in place is very complex, but still…" Leila sighed.
"And this is why we really need to get out of here. Have you finished packing?" Harry said.
"Not exactly." Leila sighed.
The doorbell rang and Harry motioned with his head for Leila to quickly go finish packing. Leila trudged up the stairs as Harry welcomed Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle into the house. When Leila got to her room, she quickly moved to the window to see if the owl was still there. It wasn't. Was he spying on her for Voldemort? Leila knew that Draco didn't always make the right choices, he had even betrayed her; but this was a new type of pathetic even for him. Did he really think that she was so stupid that she wouldn't recognize his owl? Leila shoved the last few necessary items into her bag. Her gaze then went to under the bed, where Draco's things were. She wanted nothing more than to leave them forever underneath there, but a part of her couldn't bring herself to leave them there. She reluctantly grabbed the second bag and shoved some random things in to cover Draco's belongings, then headed back downstairs.
Once downstairs, she saw that Harry, Hestia, Dedalus, Vernon, and Dudley were all outside near the car. That left…Aunt Petunia who stood in the living room. Leila dropped her bags at the bottom of the stairs and slowly walked into the living room. With her lips pursed and stance tall, Aunt Petunia looked her niece over. Leila was dressed in a dark-green hooded sweatshirt and jeans, with her hair softly curling as it hung half-way down her back, her emerald eyes piercing through. Aunt Petunia brought her hand to her mouth.
"You look so much like her." Aunt Petunia whispered.
"What?" Leila asked.
"Nothing, it was nothing." Aunt Petunia said.
Leila nodded her head and dragged her hand through her hair; not exactly sure what to say to the aunt she probably wouldn't miss. Aunt Petunia had never once showed her the affection that a mother should show a daughter, or even the affection an aunt should show her niece. The only thing she had ever known was being unwanted, something she had rarely felt while at Hogwarts. She turned to walk away when Petunia spoke once more.
"I've lived here for over twenty years and now I'm suddenly expected to leave it and everything I know." Aunt Petunia said.
"They'll torture you. They'll…" Leila began.
"Do you think I don't know what they're capable of?" Aunt Petunia asked.
"Well…" Leila began again.
"You didn't just lose a mother that night in Godric's Hollow, you know. I lost a sister." Aunt Petunia said.
Silence overcame the two women. The car could be heard starting as Uncle Vernon yelled for Petunia. Leila could have sworn that she saw a tear stray down Aunt Peutnia's cheek, which she roughly brushed away. She then cast her gaze to the floor as she heard Uncle Vernon step back into the house. He yelled once more from the front door and Leila's eyes quickly glanced at her aunt. Petunia closed her eyes and inhaled deeply.
"You remind me of her, sometimes too much for your own good." Aunt Petunia whispered.
Petunia then quickly walked past Leila, leaving Leila confused and speechless. Leila's head whipped back to follow her aunt who had stepped outside. Leila silently followed after them outside. She found them huddled in the driveway, while Leila stood on the front step with her arms crossed across her chest. She tried to follow the conversation by reading their lips. Apparently, Dudley was confused about something, which wasn't that hard to believe seeing as it was Dudley. Leila sighed slowly walked across the Dursleys' perfect lawn to say her final goodbyes. She stood between Harry and Dudley, while Hestia Jones appeared outraged over something that Leila didn't catch.
"They think we're a waste of space, actually, but I'm used to—"Harry began.
"I don't think you're a waste of space, either of you." Dudley cut him off.
"Well…er…thanks, Dudley." Harry said.
"You saved my life." Dudley mumbled.
Behind them, Aunt Petunia burst into tears, while Uncle Vernon looked as if hell had just frozen over. Dudley then thrust his hand out for Harry to shake; and Harry firmly shook Dudley's hand. Dudley then enveloped Leila in a bone-crushing hug. Leila awkwardly patted Dudley's back as she looked to her brother who looked like he was about ready to burst with laughter.
"Dudley...can't…breathe…" Leila choked out.
Dudley let go of his cousin. It took Leila a moment to properly catch her breath, while Harry chuckled beside her. Leila rolled her eyes at her brother, and then looked to her cousin who had been acting more sincere in one summer than he had in his whole life.
"Blimey, Dudley, did the dementors knock a new personality into you?" Leila asked.
"Dunno, maybe." Dudley muttered.
Dedalus and Hestia called for the Dursleys to get into their car so that they could leave, seeing as the sun was beginning to set. Leila cast a glance at her aunt and uncle, both of whom were heading for the car, when Dudley spoke once more.
"See you, Harry, Leila." Dudley said.
"Yeah…maybe. Take care, Big D." Harry said.
Leila simply nodded and watched as Dudley lumbered to the car. Leila stood beside her brother and waved goodbye for one final time before the Dursleys left Privet Drive. They stood there until the car had disappeared before heading back into the house once more. Harry headed upstairs to grab his belongings as Leila grew somewhat sentimental. She opened the cupboard under the stairs, which had once been where both she and Harry had slept. She stepped inside and turned on the light. Leila slightly chuckled that she didn't even have to bend over to fit in the small cupboard, being 5'1 ½" came in handy every once in a while. The cupboard was small, and she could hardly believe that both she and Harry had slept here. Leila spotted a ragdoll she had once shoved in the corner. She bent over to pick it up. This had been one of the few toys she had treasured as a child, even if it was missing a button eye.
"Wanted to take a last look at the place?" Harry asked.
"Merlin Harry, you scared me!" Leila gasped.
Harry smiled and moved out of the way for Leila to get out of their former bedroom. Leila dusted herself off and moved to put her old doll in once of her bags.
"What are you keeping that for?" Harry asked.
"You know that we'll never be here again." Leila said.
"Because we've obviously had so many good times. I mean look at this doormat. What memories…Dudley puked on it after the dementor attack. Turns out he was grateful after all, can you believe it?...And last summer, Dumbledore walked through that front door…" Harry began.
Leila looked at the door with a pang of guilt. It really had only been last summer when their beloved headmaster had graced them with his presence, and now he was dead. Probably much to Leila's own fault, if only she could have stopped Draco. The feelings which she had been trying all day, all summer to bury washed over her as her face paled. Harry quickly realized his mistake and took a step closer to his sister, wrapping his arms around her. Leila clung to her brother. He really was all that she had left now.
"I'm sorry…I didn't mean anything by it." Harry whispered.
"I know." Leila whispered back.
Leila leaned back and attempted to smile at her brother. A feeble attempt at a smile plastered her face. Harry recognized Leila's attempt at bravery and released his sister. Leila walked back once more to the cupboard. She motioned with her head for Harry to take a look. Harry walked to the cupboard, having to duck down a little to go inside.
"It's so small. It's hard to believe we used to live here." Harry said.
"It was before we knew who we were." Leila added.
"Before we knew about Mum and Dad." Harry whispered.
"It seems like another lifetime ago." Leila sighed.
A dull roar tore the twins apart from their reverie. Leila and Harry moved to the window, where outside was pitch black. But through the darkness figures began to pop one by one into sight as their Disillusionment Charms lifted. A flying motorbike, brooms, and thestrals carried people into the yard.
"Here we go." Leila whispered.
Harry squeezed Leila's hand and then opened the door to greet those who had entered Privet Drive.
A/N: If anyone is wondering the inspiration for the title, I listened to an instrumental piece titled "Lost Along the Way" by John Nordstrom, who wrote it for One Tree Hill….Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this next part of the journey : )