It seemed to Layla that being a first year had been centuries ago. Years had passed, uneventfully for Layla at least. Life at Hogwarts carried on. Students arrived, students left.
She wasn't a loner any longer. It took time, but the Slytherins began to accept this strange, brave hearted little golden haired girl. Layla made friends. They muddled through, and now it is Layla is in her fifth year.
Night had fallen over Hogwarts, and lights all over the castle began to flicket out. Layla, however, was wide awake. The fire in the Slytherin common room had burnt itself lower and lower as the evening wore on, and now students were drifting off to bed, eyes tired and feet stumbling.
Layla was curled over a book that her mother had sent to her earlier that week by Owl. She was totally engrossed, and only looked up to wave goodnight to her friends as they trudged towards bed.
"How long are you intending to stay up?" Asked a familiar voice. Layla turned a page and raised an eyebrow.
"As long as it takes," she replied.
"To do what?"
Layla looked up, faintly amused. "Finish this book. What does it look like?"
Laughter flowed across the common room, and Layla slid her bookmark between the pages. The laughter stopped. "Sorry. I wasn't making fun-"
"I know, I know," Layla waved a hand dismissivley. "But I might as well save some for tomorrow, otherwise what will I read then?"
There was silence for a moment. It wasn't arkward, however. It was a warm kind of silence, and Layla stood up.
Layla shook her head. "Not tired yet. I can't believe everyone gets so sleepy so easily."
"Not everyone finds homework as easy as you do."
"That's true. But you're not in bed, are you? And I don't get the impression that you struggle with work."
"Does it ever occur to you that I stay up so I can talk to you?"
Layla was silent. She had thought about that before. Well, more than once. She thought about it a lot of the time.
"Well, it doesn't sound like conversation's going to flow very much tonight anyway. I'm going up."
"'Kay," Layla managed to force out, as footsteps echoed towards the stairs.
The footsteps paused. "Night."
"Night," replied Layla, turning just in time to watch Draco Malfoy's blonde head dissapear up the stairs.