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It hurt far too much to care. I sat at the round table, my elbows folded neatly on the glass and my back ramrod straight. I looked at the lawyer, barely grasping what he had to say.

“Miss Leilani, you are the sole heir of your mother’s estate. When you turn seventeen, all her earthly possessions will be passed on to you. Now, even though she did not live ostentatiously, Emily Leilani was not a woman who lacked wealth.” His sharp brown eyes roamed down his notes. “You will inherit about fifty thousand galleons, and a large manor house in Cheshire County as well as a smaller dwelling in Salem, Massachusetts. The total sum of these items is estimated to value at one hundred and fifty thousand galleons. While that may not sound flashy, it comes out to a good amount of money, enough for you to live on interest for the time being, although you’d be surprised at how quickly the amount dwindles with your higher schooling costs.”

Normally, my eyes would have widened at the hefty amounts of money before me. Normally, I would have been surprised. Normally, I might even have decided to go on a shopping trip.

But this wasn’t “normally,” so instead I simply stared at him expressionlessly like he’d told me he’d give me a piece of licorice if I was a good little girl.

He wasn’t discomforted by my lack of response in the least and coughed into an embroidered silk handkerchief. “Until you become of age, however, your mother has appointed a guardian for you, who will give you an allowance out of his own savings. You are to visit him this weekend, having been given special allowances by the school in light of the circumstances. Your guardian wishes to know you better, so he requests your presence every non-Hogsmeade weekend from here forth until Christmas. He sends his regards in this letter.”

From the pocket of his neatly tailored, obviously expensive robes, Mr. Whatever-His-Name-Was-Utterly-Stereotypical-Lawyer handed me a heavy envelope made of creamy paper that just about screamed old money. I didn’t even look at it before stuffing it into my fake Prada purse.

The man stared at me.

It was about a minute before I understood he was waiting for me to say something.

“Is there anything else I need to know?” I asked dispassionately. I was inwardly amazed that my voice box still worked.

“No, that’ll be all. Good day, Miss Leilani,” he said formally before getting up and giving me a brief nod as he left, slowly and deliberately left the room. I watched in silence. I had no more tears to cry.


I trudged back to the Great Hall. It was alive and buzzing with excitement, as everyone whooped and yelled and hollered over the whole ‘Champions’ nonsense. Honestly. It wasn’t even until tomorrow. Besides, the whole Tournament was just some stupid gladiator style fighting thing for the students and media to partake in.

“What happened?” Delilah, Jen, and Yelena chorused.

“I – “

“Trouble in paradise, loser?” sneered Sabrina Taylor, tossing her long blonde hair over her shoulder. “Gotten in trouble? Eating a last feast?”

At that, something in me snapped. I’d taken her insults for almost a month, let her belittle me and gossip about me and steal from me. It was enough. I had had enough.

“Fuck off, Taylor,” I snarled, my fingers spreading into claws underneath the table. If she didn’t leave...

She gaped at me for a moment, then evidently decided it wasn’t worth getting into a fight with me at the moment and retreated. Delilah raised her eyebrows at me, looking surprised. I sank down further into my chair.

“That bad?”

I didn’t respond. Yelena looked really concerned, scooting in closer. “What did McGonagall say?”

“My mother was murdered,” I said dully, and my friends were stunned into silence.

 


Delilah’s POV

Damn it, but Lizzi was a mess.

It’d been nearly a week, and she was still either catatonic or nearly catatonic. Her eyes had lost their characteristic luster, she looked pallid and crappy, and her hair was greasy. Her clothes were all rumpled, and she didn’t seem to care about anything anymore. Her spellwork was terrible, and her grades were slipping, but she maintained that it didn’t matter.

Something had to be done, we all agreed, me, Jen, and Yelena. It was understandable, after such a terrible thing, yet she was our friend. We had to help her move on.

It was time for drastic measures.

 


Albus’s POV

The minute I saw Delilah, I knew something was wrong.

First of all, we hadn’t spoken in about six years, since that awful incident at the end of first year. Second of all, we’d had a mutual dislike going on since third year, when I’d...well, I’m not going to go into that. And finally, after Jen and I had our spat, she’d downright hated me. So it wasn’t likely that she was going to talk to me about the weather.

She looked at me hesitantly and tucked her hair behind her ear in a nervous gesture. “Potter...”

“Patil,” I said, careful to be neither cold or friendly. She nodded, reassured by my lack of antagonism.

“Potter, we need your help,” she said, a faint edge of desperation in her voice. “Lizzi’s been practically dead for the last week.”

I frowned, my heart doing a strange dance. Alyssa had been avoiding me ever since that night. She’d barely spoken two words to me.

I shouldn’t have cared, but I did. A strange kind of anger, fueled by something akin to raw despair, rushed through me yet again: How could she forget everything? How could she forget...us?

 

Delilah’s POV

It was amazing, the way his face softened and the way his eyes took on a sort of deep glow the minute he heard Lizzi’s name. The sharp planes of his cheekbones and his strong jaw blurred a little, and he seemed to be all warm and fuzzy tenderness. I stared at him. He was head over heels for her, I realized. That in itself was odd, since they barely knew each other, but this was Albus Potter. Dark, handsome, brooding, mysterious Albus Potter, whom nothing could touch and nothing could wound. I’d learned that lesson the hard way.

“She’s really upset,” I said in a voice soft enough to be a whisper. “Her – well, I wouldn’t tell you this, except I don’t know what to do – mother died. I think someone murdered her.” My voice broke slightly, faltering for my poor friend. “I don’t know what to do.”

And I didn’t. Lizzi was our rock, the one we leaned on, the dependable one who reassured us and stood up for us every time. Jen, Yelena and I had never been so close until she showed up. If she left, our friendship would be torn into pieces.

Albus watched me, looking almost concerned. His aloofness was almost gone. “Why me?”

“Because...” I hesitated, knowing that this part would make him angry. He’d always seen through deception with ease. “Because you’re the only who’s able to get a rise out of her – “

“Or might be willing to?” he bit back, suddenly sarcastic, his face cold again. “You want me to act as her punchbag for a day or two while she vents, and she’ll probably end up hating me, but it doesn’t matter if it saves your relationship. Have I got it right?”

His sharp, acute words ripped through my insides. They passed through my armor because I knew, deep down, that he was right. He was spot on. Like always.

“Somewhat,” I admitted haplessly. He snorted, a sound both derisive and belittling.

“You expect me to agree to that?”

“No,” I said, my heart falling as I prepared to slink away in defeat. “No.”

But just as I was about to turn around, he place a firm, reassuring hand on my shoulder, and I looked up to find a grim and somber and hopeful, all at the same time, expression on his face.

“I’ll do it.”

 

“There she is,” I said, leading him to the girls’ dormitory in Ravenclaw tower. It was in the middle of the day, meaning most people were in their classes. I was skipping Herbology, but it was well worth it to be able to slip a Gryffindor – and not just a Gryffindor, but the Gryffindor – into the common room and beyond.

Alyssa was curled up in bed, reading through some enormous tome that looked it weighed at least twenty pounds and smelled worse than my little brother’s gym socks. Her eyes barely flickered from the book.

“Hey, Delilah,” she said in a flat, tired kind of way, not seeming to notice Potter. “’Sup?”

Potter took a sharp intake of breath behind me, but I didn’t look at him. I shrugged, and said simply, “Someone’s here to see you.”

 

Alyssa’s POV

“Albus?” I asked in horrified surprise, a surprisingly potent electric shock arcing through my body. Magical Maladies dropped onto my lap with a loud thud, hitting my thighs hard enough to make me sore for the next two or three days. “What are you doing here?”

“Thanks for sounding happy to see me,” he said dryly. It was strange. He had to have heard by now, from Delilah or someone, or he wouldn’t be here, but there wasn’t a trace of pity or sympathy in his eyes. He nodded at Delilah, who slightly unwillingly scurried off. I knew that she’d probably be listening anyways.

“I’m sorry about that,” I said, imitating his dry tone. “I just thought that when the most important person in your life dies, you sorta get a little down.”

“Really, now,” he said, taking in my unkempt appearance with calm disapproval. God, he was beginning to annoy me, with his nonchalance. He settled against the wall, seemingly relaxed. I, on the other hand, was sitting straight up for the first time in days.

“What do you want, Potter?”

He lounged backgrounds, unruffled by my demand. “Just wanted to know why you were wasting your life away in bed,” he said, a slight note of contempt dripping into his voice.

“Shut up,” I said quietly. My dead heart began to move a millimeter, and I felt some color flush into my cheeks.

“Why should I? You’re not the boss of me, Leilani.” His preschool level choice of words, ingeniously reiterating what I had said to him only days ago, would have made me laugh if I wasn’t so angry. He was treating me and my mourning as if it was unjustified! A strange feeling grew within me, and cracks formed in the glass wall that was protecting me from the world. I shifted, feeling vulnerable and prone to attack.

“Listen,” I snarled, “you don’t have any idea what I’ve been through – “

He jerked suddenly, and the first trace of true emotion shone through his sea green eyes. He moved abruptly, closing in with predatory grace, and I knew I’d said something wrong.

“Don’t I?” he hissed, only inches away from my face.

“If you did, you would understand!” I screamed, pushing him away from me, beating against his chest. He stumbled backwards only a step before regaining his balance. I wasn’t a weight lifter, but I wasn’t exactly weak either, so a small part of me found time to admire his coordination.

“I understand that your mother wouldn’t want you to waste your entire life like this.”

It was a direct blow, a knife through my heart, and I couldn’t breathe. I gasped for air, floundering, my boundaries ripped away. No, she wouldn’t have wanted this. He was right. And I despised him for it, for forcibly pulling me out of self misery, for making me get up and do something.

“I hate you,” I said softly, cold rage finding its way into my tone. But he wasn’t moved by my harsh words in the least, and that hurt me more.

“Get dressed,” he said emotionlessly, stone hard against my flurry of insults as I yelled at him about what a bastard he was. “The Inter-Gala Event’s in ten minutes, and you should be there.”

“I won’t go,” I said, standing up in childish defiance. I wobbled a little, which ruined the dramatic effect. “I WON’T FUCKING GO!”

He stared at me, and I got the strange idea he was disappointed, and even more oddly, shame gathered at the pit of my stomach. I stomped off to grab another dress I’d bought – I’d bought three at Lavender Brown’s that time.

 


Delilah’s POV

“Wow,” I said softly to Potter, watching Lizzi go into her closet.

He didn’t say anything. When I looked at him, what I saw stopped me in my tracks.

His face was pale, and his eyes were unfathomable. His eyes were tight and his jaw hard, like he was suffering from stress of some sort. Hard and closed off.

And I felt bad. Really, really bad, for using him as a tool, a hammer to get Lizzi to wake up, for making him look like he was burning in hell or something like that. So bad, that, for the first time in six years, I reached out and hugged him in thanks.

He stiffened slightly, and an expression of complete disbelief was etched across his handsome face before he slowly lifted his arms and awkwardly wrapped them around me.

“Thanks,” I whispered in his ear.

And I heard something at the corner of the room drop with a smattering sound, the sound of glass smashing.

 


Alyssa’s POV

What. The. Hell.

Albus and Delilah were wrapped in a tight embrace, her mouth near his ear, whispering a secret. Albus’s mouth was turned up at the corners, a small smile stretching across a strangely peaceful face.

I stared at them, unable to comprehend what I was seeing. They – they –

C’mon, Alyssa, I told myself bitterly, it isn’t as if they were doing anything wrong. I’d never even told Delilah I felt anything at all for Albus. And as for the guy, I’d broken up with him. So technically, they could take their snog fest as far as they wanted.

But I didn’t give a damn about technicalities.

“What the hell are you doing?” I yelled, and the scene exploded into action. Albus jerked away from Delilah and vice versa, and I just looked accusingly at both of them. Unjustified, of course, but who cared?

“Nothing,” Delilah said hastily, looking at me like she was worried for my sanity or something. Okay, so I might have gone a little bit off the deep end. Not that much. I hope.

“Hold up here,” I shouted, placing my open hand in front of their nearly joined faces. Remember, Alyssa, Delilah doesn’t know about you and that filthy toerag Potter or anything else about this mess. “Aren’t you supposed to hate him – it – or something?”

“Well,” Delilah hedged, “sort of...”

I stuck my hands on my hips, refusing to spare another glance at Albus. Fuck him, as far as I was concerned. He’d goddamned told me my mum’s death didn’t matter! My fingers curled into a fist, and my untrimmed and razor sharp nails dug into my skin. It was all I could do not to shove him out the frickin’ window and/or slash his throat.

“Explain,” I said, quietly, my voice under control now. “And you – “ I couldn’t bring myself to say his name. “You – just go. Get out of my sight.”

“Lizzi – “ Delilah began to protest, but he was already gone.

 


Delilah’s POV

I had no idea Alyssa could be such a bitch before. Not that her bitching was unjustified, of course. Her self control was actually rather admirable: if I were her and some guy that I couldn’t stand had said that to me after my mum died, I would have cast the Avada Kedavra on him right then and there. Well, that after the Cruciatus Curse.

As it was, she was so mad she was literally shaking. And there was that little part that made me nervous...she was glowing.

My friend was lighting up like a blue lava lamp.

 


Scorpius’s POV

“Shut up, Malfoy, it’s not funny,” snaps Rose, falling onto a sofa. “I’ve never seen Uncle Harry so concerned in my life.”

“What are you talking about?”

She threw a pillow at me. Ouch. That girl should’ve been Chaser for the house team, because the feather-light missile was hurled with such force that I felt like I was struck by a load of bricks.
“The murder, you dolt!” she yelled.

I gaped at her, my previous snarks and irritation forgotten.

“What?” I asked intelligently.

 

Alyssa’s POV

“What?” I said, not exactly pleasantly. “Did I just sprout horns or something?”

Delilah’s face strongly resembled a donut, her mouth was that wide. “Uh...uh...”

“And?” I prompted her, annoyance coursing through me. Just say it, already! I was in a pretty nasty mood after seeing her kiss Al – Potter, and she was only adding fuel to the inferno. Not that I could say anything like that to her. And I was not jealous. Duh. I mean, if I was allowed to rip him up into a million tiny pieces, that would be the best present ever. Energy rushed in my bloodstream, and I felt as if I was floating –

“Lizzi!” shouted Delilah, and I suddenly noticed that my feet were no longer on the floor.

“Shit,” I swore angrily as I dropped like a boulder. This didn’t bode well for me, weight-wise.

“You stopped,” she said, studying me with a distant expression. I frowned at her.

“Stopped what?”

“Stopped glowing,” she elaborated.

“Glowing?”

“Yeah.” A deep crease appeared between my friend’s eyebrows. “You mean you didn’t notice?”

“Nope,” I said lightly, even though it was far from what I was feeling. “I felt really, well, energized, though, like way more perky.”

“That’s funny,” said Delilah, but she didn’t say anything more, and neither did I.
 

 

Author's Note:

Haha! :) Finally, a snippet from Al's POV! So, yeah. I've (at last) decided the direction the plot's going to go from here, and it's a little overwhelming...but I'm 90% sure I can pull it off.

I just went back and read through the whole thing and noticed a few minor inconsistensies, so I'll get those fixed ASAP too.

As always, thanks to my wonderful reviewers and favoriters!

Love,

SG

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