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Layla fled back to the Palace hot tears streaking down her face, she apparated back to her suite where Hermione was reading one of the many books she owned about Medina history.
Layla held out her wand to Hermione, “have I betrayed you?”

“No, Layla what’s wrong?” Hermione sat very still.

“You must leave please,” she begged, transforming the book into a portkey, “leave Hermione, tell Harry I am sorry.”

“But Layla?”

“Go now!”

Layla’s sobs ran through the night till no more tears would fall. Why was she so attached to this man, who still loved another. He had taken Ginny back into his life so quickly. How she wished that Harry would wrap his arms around her. The sting of losing Sandi and finding comfort and security in Harry had been so wonderful. Now she has betrayed Harry by a lie that she would never have uttered.
Dawn peaked across Medina as Layla curled up on her bed to be left alone for as long as possible.

“She was a mess!” Hermione exclaimed, early in the morning as the Order woke for breakfast, “crying and shaking and no one ever saw her?”

“No, no one,” Harry replied running his hand through his hair. He had been so stupid to think that Layla would really betray the Order like that. The Sultan was playing her telling her he would stop all the murders if she would be his.

“Good morning,” Ginny announced, appearing the most pleased she had been in days, slapping a kiss on Harry. “Why is everyone so glum?” She pouted.

“We lost important information for the order last night, Layla didn’t get here, someone scared her off, now we’re no closer to saving these people then we were when we arrived,” Remus finished moodily staring out the doorway.

“Ginny,” Ron said very sternly out of character, “did you by any chance see Layla last night?”

Silence rang through the tiny house, everyone stopped what they were doing, the answer was immediate on her face but she did not admit.

“Harry they’re picking on me again,” she whined.

“Ginny,” Harry said slowly, “I know perfectly well that you ran off to America with some Quidditch player, I know that. And you came running as soon as you heard another woman was seen with me. So I thought ‘maybe she’s ok, maybe we’ll work out’, but when you jeopardize an Order event that will mean the life and death of many people I can not work that out! Unless anyone else welcomes you here, I think you best leave,” Harry’s eyes were dark and narrowed, Ginny was fearful.

“Wait!” Hermione called, Ginny looked relieved, “what did you say to Layla, word for word Ginny,” she warned.

“I told her you’d kill her because she betrayed us,” Ginny gabbled.

“Why!” Harry yelled.

“Because she wanted to see you and I didn’t want her to…she’s pretty,” Ginny pouted.

“You made your mind up about us when you went to America and now you come---“

The front door creaked slowly opened and a tall, broad shouldered man stood in the frame, looking powerful with the morning sun shining behind him, he lifted the hood off his cloak.

“Is this the Order of the Phoenix?” He asked Remus and Remus nodded.
“Of course,” he replied, “Harry Potter,” he smiled giving his hand, “a pleasure.”

Harry returned the handshake; he had never felt such a powerful presence or energy in a room since Dumbledore. This stranger was a younger version, peppery hair, strong chin and deep emerald eyes that looked surreal.

“I have travelled very far to be here, I wish to take on any job big or small to aid you, it is a remarkable happening what you are all doing for Medina,” his deep voice soothed the tense crowd. “I am Mansa and I used to live here fourteen years ago, my wife passed away here and I couldn’t bear to be where she had died, I have travelled the world for many years now and I heard of the trouble this city was in, I decided to return to help this city that was once so kind to me.”

“Welcome,” Arthur said graciously, “you will be most useful to us, you are the only townsperson left.”

“Where is everyone?” He asked.

“The Sultan has what’s left of the city locked up in his prison,” Arthur responded.

“This is a lot worse than I ever imagined,” Mansa said slowly, looking incredibly pained.

“Please sit down, let me get you some tea,” Molly soothed.

The next few days Layla felt as though she were a ghost, she drifted through her daily routine like she was programmed to do so. More people died everyday, she grew thin and pale and had the light sucked out of her. The Sultan could stand no more.

“Why can’t you smile,” he demanded.

“What is there to smile about?” She replied.

“Plenty! You have your own bed, plenty of food, new clothes, many women would be happy married to a Sultan!”

“But I am not.”

“I’ve had enough of your depressions! Smile!” He ordered slapping her across the face, from lack of strength she fell and she stayed. The Sultan watched the broken creature on the floor, he dismissed the rest of the room’s occupants and kneeled down to Layla.

“What would make you happy?” He asked genuinely.

A million things ran into Layla’s head, being at the water with George and Fred, playing with her brother at Christmas, those foggy, early memories of a life much better than this one and Harry…being with Harry there could be no greater happiness but Harry did not want to be with her, there was one more thing…

“I wish to be with my people,” Layla stated, “I wish to comfort the orphaned children, help the sick and injured on their last days.”

For a moment the Sultan had an expression she had never witnessed before, was it sorrow? Pity? Surprise? She was unsure.

“Very well,” he said quietly, “Faris!” He called, “take Layla to the prison,” he paused, his voice shaking slightly, “…and give her a number.”

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