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8.

Harry spent the next few days like he had been hit by the worst spell, the pain of Ginny was infinite and wounded him worse than any jinx. He was partly comforted that Layla had reached out to him and partly embarrassed.

“Harry, did you want something to eat?” She asked politely.

Harry shook his head not meaning to be ungrateful but not being able to speak. He knew Layla was deeply concerned but she began to sound slightly frustrated with his attitude.

“I know my situation can’t possibly compare with yours but I do know how it feels to lose someone you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with…so if you need to talk then-“

“Thank you but I’ll be fine, I’d just like to be on my own.”

“Alright…do you mind if I go out and see Molly?” She asked.

“Not at all I think her and Hermione wanted to take you shopping again, so you should go.”

A million and one questions bubbled up inside Layla, about this country and about women in this country but she bit them down and wished Harry a nice day and left.

Harry had been reunited with the Order and had the whole tale retold to them, Molly was very intrigued by Layla and had seemed to adopt her. Remus’ house was filled with tears and smiles as they were reunited with their hero but awkward silences filled the air when conversation shifted to Ginny. Harry replayed the uncomfortable atmosphere created by the Order.

“Hey Harry,” Ron said quietly slipping in his room, “Mum and Hermione have taken Layla shopping so it’s just us boys.”

“Thanks Ron but I really need to rest, the Daily Prophet is doing an interview with me this evening, it takes a lot out of me to re-tell the story.”

“I understand,” Ron paused, “what are you going to say about Layla?”

“The truth.”

“You don’t think some people will be sceptical of you and Ginny’s break up and Layla’s appearance?”

“So what if they are? Layla and I are not in that way.”

“I believe you! But people won’t, especially once they see her, she’s going to get a lot of media attention Harry and she’s attractive, people will get the wrong idea.”

“I don’t see why that should matter, I’ve just come back from the dead Ron and found a city with a Voldemort in training, I don’t my love life is going to be that important.”



But to Harry’s disappointment it was, the interviewer wanted to know his feelings about Ginny and about Layla. Harry eventually had to threaten the interviewer so he would write what Harry wanted.

“I want people to know the mistreatment that goes on in Medina and I want to call fighter’s from across the globe to help me fight, I want— “ Harry was cut off.

Layla entered the room, glowing with arms full of bags, she had a purple knit dress on with a dark pink scarf and dark pink ankle boots, Harry had only recently grown accustom to her in normal clothes, she was beautiful.

“Oh sorry I didn’t know you were still in here,” she smiled.

“You must be Layla, Charles Seether reporter from Daily Prophet, delight to meet you,” Charles shook her hand and Layla bowed.

“You don’t have to bow Layla,” Harry reminded her.

“Sorry,” Layla blushed slightly making her even more beautiful and beginning to frustrate Harry.

“You may leave now Charles, thank you,” Harry said firmly.

Charles, looking slightly scared left Harry and Layla alone.

“Why did you burst in like that?” Harry objected.

“I’m sorry I didn’t know anyone would be here, you said you wanted to be alone.”

“That was hours ago.”

“Forgive me for not being updated on your moods hourly,” Layla’s eyes flashed, the first time Harry had seen anger flashed at him for a long time.

“Forgive me for not joining your shopping trip.”

“You were invited, please Harry let’s calm down, would you like to be left alone?”

“What for? You’ll just come back in.”

“Would you rather I go home?”

“Don’t twist my words, you come in here looking all beautiful and stunning and I was good for so long when we were in Medina, the times I thought about just kissing you while you were sleeping or wrapping my arms around your body and I couldn’t! Cause I was with that stupid woman who I was prepared to give my life to and no sooner had you crashed into me she was fucking some American Quidditch player. Now she’s out of my life and I can’t bear to look at another woman until I see you and I don’t know what to think anymore because my head fills up with a buzzing noise everytime you are near me.”

Harry stopped, breathing heavily and sat equally as heavily on the bed, Layla stood completely still clutching at her shopping bags. Her heart was beating so fast that she was sure he would hear it. All this time Harry was thinking about her, of course she felt bad that his fiancée had left him but a new part of her was very excited.

Layla walked slowly towards Harry and sat beside him, she covered his hand with her’s and leant on his shoulder.

“Harry,” she said quietly, “I feel the same way, I am so confused right now.”

She turned to him and lifted his chin towards her, gently she placed her lips on his and for a moment Harry and Layla’s minds weren’t anywhere at all, the kiss was heavenly when…

“You can’t! I can’t have that!” Harry protested, “why did you do that? I’m not one of your men who ask for you and pay you, I have feelings for you.”

“I have them too!”

“I can’t deal with this, I’m going out.”

Molly bustled in just as Harry was walking out, “where’s he off to?”

“Going to the water,” Harry called back.

“I think he is upset with me, Molly,” Layla said softly, “I intruded on his meeting.”

“He’s in a very tough situation, a lot has happened to him,” Molly patted Layla’s shoulder.

“A lot has happened to Layla too Molly”, Hermione entered the room, looking frustrated, “you can’t even begin to understand the treatment women go through in Medina. Harry has no right to be rude to you. I’m going to go and find him and bring him back to apologise.”

“No, Hermione let me, we have both lost our fiancee’s, I will check on him,” Layla persisted. As she left she heard Molly asking where Layla’s fiancée was and Hermione gushed Layla’s story to Molly.

Layla exited the front door and spotted Fred and George, Ron’s older twin brother’s who she had met earlier that day, they saw her and waved.

“Hi Layla, what are you doing out by yourself?” Fred (or George) asked.

“I am looking for Harry, he said he was going to the water, what is that?”

“The water is the bay,” George smiled, “we’ll show you the way.”

“Thank you,” Layla smiled, the twins were extremely smitten with Layla and were pleased to help her.

“And here we are,” Fred presented.

Layla’s eyes widened, but not nearly as wide as the blue expanse of water in front of her. She had never seen such a smooth and silky expanse of water.

“Can we go in?” She asked, like a child waiting to sit upon Santa’s knee.

“Yes, but it’ll be freezing,” George warned but too late Layla had already taken off and ripping her boots and scarf off she plunged into the icy water, flipping her legs in the frosty water.

“This is amazing,” she exclaimed standing up her soaked knit dress clung to her body, “come in you two, I thought you were exciting?” She smiled and dived back under.

Fred and George laughed and took of their shoes and began treading carefully in, it was especially cold.

“Think of the wet clothes stuck to her,” Fred said his teeth chattering.

“I am brother, I am!”

Harry watched Layla, Fred and George muck about in the water for a while, mostly he watched Layla, she looked so happy and he was ruining this for her. Ginny left him, that was that, did he really want to be with someone who would give up so easily on him? He was on his way down when he heard a voice that made his blood run cold.

“Bit lonely without Potter aren’t we boys?”

“Mr. Malfoy how do you do old chap,” George said sarcastically heading towards the shore with Fred.

“Bit lonely without you old mate helping you out, isn’t it?” Fred scathed.

“I’m finding new friends fast and it seems you have too, who is this charming creature?” Draco indicated to Layla who had walked to the shore with the boys.

“I’m Layla,” she stated confidently, “and I think you should move so my friends and I can continue enjoying ourselves.”

Draco drew a terrible grin on his face, “forgive me, I’ll take these and be on my way,” Draco picked up their three wands they had left near their shoes and laughed, “please continue don’t let—“

But Draco didn’t get to finish the sentence Layla flew at him, her feet colliding painfully with his stomach, Draco fell to the ground, whimpering. Layla collected the wands and handed them back to their owner’s. Fred and George were lost for words.

“C’mon let’s get out of here before anyone tries to find him,” Layla said, looking around and spotting Harry.

“Where did you learn to do that?” Fred asked looking at Draco’s still whimpering body.

“Mudbloods aren’t allowed wands in my country I had to learn how to defend myself,” she said innocently

“Remind me never to get on the wrong side of you,” George said sheepishly.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked running towards them.

“Thanks to ninja Layla over here,” Fred said smiling.

Draco let out a groan like he was coming around and Layla gave him a good hit with her foot.

“Apparate,” Harry said and they all apparated back home.

A few days later the stories of Harry’s return had been printed, Layla was changing into her new clothes when her head became very light, she sat down, her blood felt like sludge in her veins and her stomach felt sick. Flashes of screams and cries rang in her ears, she sat on the bathroom floor until it passed. She wearily entered her room to find Harry laying on their bed staring blankly at he ceiling, again.

“Harry I’m going back to Medina tonight, I don’t know how to explain it but something is really wrong,” Layla begun clipping her new cloak on.

“Fine but what do you think you’re going to do about it?”

“More than you are by sitting around,” Harry heard Layla breathe in, “we’ve been here a week and while I have enjoyed this life very much, I can not leave my people. They are suffering Harry, suffering even more now that the Sultan knows they were planning a revolt. I can’t wear these clothes, sleep on this bed, eat this food and know what my people are going through.”

“Do what you must and I will do what I have to,” Harry stared straight ahead at the ceiling, he wasn’t motivated to fight and didn’t think he would ever feel motivated again.

“Well thank you for your help and making people aware, I don’t want a fuss so just tell everyone goodbye from me,” Layla began to leave, “thank you Harry.”
The door closed, Harry wanted to call out but didn’t.

Layla wished Harry would call out, but he never did, in the hallway of the little English house she had come to love she apparated back to her home in Medina. The change was immediate, the dryness and heat in the in the air swam back into her pores like a stubborn stain. It was early evening in Medina and the sun was slowly setting, the sky was a dull grey mauve and did nothing to lift her spirits, Layla entered the town that would usually be quite busy. But there was an eerie stillness and quiet in the atmosphere, she made her way to her parents house, not spotting a living creature in sight.

As soon as she entered her parents house and firm hand grabbed around her waist and mouth.

“Layla, it’s Sandi.”

Layla struggled to get free and wrenched his arm off her pinning him against the front door.

“Another woman for me to find?” She answered bitterly.

“Please listen to me,” he sounded a little desperate, “the Sultan made a deal with me, he wanted you to see me with the other woman so you and I would split and you would fall out of love with me. The Sultan is in love with you, he made a deal to keep my family safe, what else could I do?”

Layla turned him around roughly, “where is everyone?”

Sandi looked uncomfortable, “some have fled but most were killed on their escape. The Sultan has gone crazy he has locked up all of the half bloods and every prisoner has a number, he picks a random number everyday and that prisoner with that number is tortured and killed by his guards, it is a new method he brought in this morning.”

“Even children?”

“Yes, but you are home now, he is asking for your love and he will stop this,” Sandi breathed in, “if you marry him.”

“If I marry him,” Layla’s eyes darted around the house and her memory took her back to her family, many other children will live like her if he is not stopped, “take me to him.”

The pair began walking in silence, the eerie market place was deserted and ghostly, Layla caught her breath as she walked past dead and decaying bodies, some with wet gleaming blood still dripping. Sandi put his arms around her shoulders.

“You are an amazing woman Layla,” Sandi brushed a piece of hair from her face and lightly kissed her on the lips, “I have missed you, have you missed me?”

“Yes,” Layla answered her head swimming.

“I understand what you must do to save this city but I will always love you.”
“Thank you,” she said quietly.

Sandi and Layla reached the elaborate palace gates, Sandi did the incarnation to open the gates, none of the guards moved as Layla walked towards the Sultan’s chamber. Faris opened the doors to the Sultan’s chamber, Layla didn’t meet his eyes.

“Well done Sandi,” the Sultan bellowed, “you have done well, one family member will be spared.”

“Thank you your highness,” Sandi smirked and pushed Layla forward.

“You lying,” Layla hit him in the nose, he started forward when the Sultan ordered him to stop.

“Leave her!” He yelled, watching the dark red trickle of blood weave down his face.

“Where’s your friend Mr Potter?” The Sultan said mockingly.

Layla didn’t answer.

“No one to help you now is there, times have changed since you’ve been away miss, everyone is on my side and there is nothing you can do that will change it,” he paused, “unless you agree to be my Queen, it’s a good deal when you think about it; save your people and live in a luxury for the rest of your life.”

“I will do it.”

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