Sofia opened the letter her father had sent her as she sat at breakfast a few weeks later. It had been several days after she had received her mothers letter. It was the day before Christmas break began, a day before she and Daniel left for Malfoy Manor.
My dearest child I am sorry for the pain you are suffering. I know it is difficult for you. I understand better than you mother what it is like growing up afraid of a future you cannot change. Child, I know it is scary. I know there are nights when you cry yourself to sleep, when you just want to give it all up, when you would rather die than have to live one more day with this curse. Here is my advise to you: do not shut out those who are there for you. I know that Draco Malfoy has been a friend to both you and Daniel. Though his father is less than trustworthy, Draco has a good heart. I could tell that when I met him. Your brother also tells me of a boy, Luke, who seems to have taking a liking to you. Daniel says you two spend a lot of time together. Hold tight to these people. When all else seems hopeless, I can promise you that having friends like this will pull you through the darkest of times. Before you were born, I worried that you would not be able to live up to the tasks before you. I do not mean the servitude to the Dark Lord, I mean breaking the family curse. Yet the moment I laid eyes upon you for the very first time, I knew that the curse would end with you. It had to. I knew then that you would be strong enough, wise enough, and loving enough to see the curse broken. Many generations of Adema blood run through your veins, and this blood shall not fail you. The blood of our forefather, who ruled the wizarding world peacefully before the curse was set, flows stronger in you than it has in anyone since. I can are it in your eyes when you look at me and hear it in your voice when you speak. I have always told you to have courage, but I do not think I ever needed to tell you that, for you are courage. It is no coincidence that your soul is a wolf. Wolves are powerful, beautiful, and fearless. They fight only when provoked, or for love. They rule the wild without destroying it. This is you my child. The relentless spirit you show is the wolf within you, protecting you, making you stronger. Beautiful Sofia, you were born into a life most would not be able to handle, but I know you will handle it with dignity and grace. That, Love, is your true destiny.
When Sofia climbed out of bed the next morning, she could tell something was not right. Something in the air seemed...unsettled. She hurried down to the common room.
Hermione was sitting across from the empty fireplace, staring at it seriously.
"What happened, Heriomne?"
Hermione jumped when Sofia said her name
"It's Ron's dad. He was attacked last night at the ministry. He's not in good shape."
Sofia was stunned. An attack inside the ministry? Hermione continued to talk.
"Harry woke up screaming. He saw the entire thing happen in a dream. Had it not been for him, they might have no found Mr. Weasels for hours. Thanks to Harry he might have a chance."
Before Sofia could say anything, Natalie came charging down the stairs from the dormitory.
"I'm going to miss you so much!" She squealed, throwing her arms around Sofia.
"It's only a few weeks," Sofia said.
"I know, but it seems like you're always busy with Luke or Malfoy these days. We never have girl time anymore."
As Natalie pouted, Sofia remembered exactly why she had been avoiding "girl time." Still though, she remembered her father's advise about keeping close friends.
"I'm sorry, Nat. How about when we come back we'll spend the very next day together, just you and me."
Natalie smiled, and Sofia envied the life of the girl who could become so cheerful at such a small thing.
Sofia felt weird being inside the Malfoy Manor while it was so decorative. Draco's mother had clearly spent a lot of time putting up Christmas decorations inside and out. Wreathes hung on doors, mistletoe above door frames, Christmas trees stood in every room, full of ornaments and lights.
There was no sign of Voldemort though, not hint that anything dark had ever set foot inside the house.
"I do hope you will be comfortable while you are here," Narcissa Malfoy said as she showed Sofia to her room. "If you need anything, please do not hesitate to ask. Draco's room is just down the hall on the left. Your brother will be across from him on the right. You'll have your own washroom just through that door," she said pointing across the room, "and Lucius and I sleep at the end of the hall. Although, I'm not sure how much Lucius will be here the next few days. He has been quite busy recently."
Sofia was relieved when Narcissa finally left. Though she was nice, Sofia could not forget who she was married to.
Sofia sat down on the bed in the large room. The room was simple and plain, clearly not used to being occupied. Other than a simple mahogany dresser and desk across from the bed, it was virtually empty and lifeless. It made her miss her own home, her own room which was filled with books, pictures and other precious items that she longed to see again.
There was a knock on the door.
"Come in," Sofia called.
Daniel stepped into the room. He shut the door behind him and walked over to sit beside her.
"I want to go home. I don't like it here. It feels...evil."
Sofia hugged her little brother.
"I know Danny. It's only for a few days though. Then you'll spend the rest of break at home with Mother, Father, and Mathias."
"But what about you?" Daniel asked. "Home doesn't feel right without you. All last year it felt empty, meaningless."
Sofia forced a smile.
"I'll be home before you even realize I'm not there."
"Why do you have to stay?"
Sofia had known the question would come, but was still unprepared for it.
"Danny, I don't want to, but I don't have a choice."
He looked up at her, a sad expression on his face.
"Is Voldemort making you stay?"
"Why? Sof, what did you do? Why is he choosing you? Why hasn't he summoned me?"
"Be thankful that he is leaving you alone," Sofia snapped.
Daniel narrowed his eyes and studied her.
"What did you do, Sof?"
Sofia put a hand on her brother's cheek
"I got him to agree to leave you alone for a while. He said he would not summon you until you had time to learn more magic."
Daniel pulled back from her.
"Why did you do that? You were my age when he summoned you!"
"Danny please, you have to understand that as first born, it is my job to protect you. You don't want to live this life."
"Do you?" Daniel asked in a challenging tone.
"No, but I do not have a choice. You do. Please, enjoy your freedom while you can."
He looked like he was giving in. He looked away for a moment, then looked back at her sadly.
"I could help you though. Together, maybe we could break the curse."
Sofia shook her head.
"That is not your destiny, Daniel. If the curse is to be broken, it will be broken through me and me alone."
Daniel sighed and stood up.
"Alright, Sofia, I won't. But you know you can trust me, right? You know that I will always be here for you?"
Sofia gave him a smile.
"I know little bro."
He nodded and left the room quietly, and Sofia was left alone to sit in silence.
Dinner with the Malfoys was one of the most uncomfortable moments of Sofia's life. Lucius had come home just in time, and throughout all of dinner he made things as awkward as possible for her.
"So, Daniel, how do you like being in Slytherin?"
Daniel looked up uneasily from his plate.
"It's good. Everyone treats me really well. Draco has helped me make friends outside of my year, especially with some of the Quidditch team."
"Weren't you disappointed about not joining your sister in Gryffindor?"
"At first I was. After all, she was the only person I knew. But I can honestly say I am a proud Slytherin."
Lucius smirked, and Sofia shifted uncomfortably as his gaze fell on her.
"What about you, Sofia?" He asked.
"I am proud to be in Gryffindor. My parents always told me to have courage, and I feel as though being placed in Gryffindor means I have done just that. As for Danny, I couldn't be prouder of him. We hope that together we can bring back some friendship between the houses."
A loud snort came from behind Sofia, and she turned around to see a tall shadowy man lurking behind her. His eyes were dark and cold, and he looked like he needed a good bath.
"McNair, what are you doing in my house," Lucius snarled.
"Of calm yourself, Malfoy. I heard the Dark Lord would be here tonight and decided to stop by a bit early and meet his new pet."
He motioned toward Sofia, making her shudder.
There was a crash on the other side of the table and Sofia turned to see Draco on his feet, his chair overturned behind him and his want pointed at McNair's face.
"She is not a pet," he snarled. "Now apologize or you'll regret it."
McNair snorted again.
"Sit down and put that away, boy, before you hurt yourself."
"CRUCIO!" Draco shouted.
McNair fell back against the wall and began screaming in agony. Daniel jumped up away from the table. Narcissa gasped, and Lucius yelled as Draco to stop.
He would not stop though. Sofia had never seen him so angry, and McNair fell to the ground, writhing in pain. Sofia could not stand the screams of pain, could take seeing someone endure that much pain.
"Draco," she begged, "please stop. Stop."
Draco looked at her, his eyes burning angrily as he thought for a moment, before he finally stopped.
McNair got to his feet and drew his wand, pointing it at Draco who was still pointing his own at McNair. Lucius stood and drew his own wand, pointing it at McNair's chest.
Before anyone could make a move though, a cold voice entered the room.
"Draco, that torture curse was expertly performed."
Voldemort slid into the room, a smile plastered across his face.
"Put your wands away, all of you. After all, it is the Christmas."
Lucius and McNair put theirs away first. Draco held his out for a moment more before finally setting it on the table where he could reach it again quickly.
Voldemort looked pleased and turned to Daniel, who had pressed himself up against the wall as far from Voldemort as he could get.
"Ah, this must be young Daniel. It is a pleasure to finally meet you."
He gave a small bow, and Sofia held her breath, terrified for her brother.
"Now unfortunately," Voldemort said, crossing the room to stand beside Sofia. "This is not a social visit. I have important matters to discuss with Miss Admea, so if you would all please excuse us."
He drew his wand, and with a flick, the plates of food on the table disappeared. Everyone hesitated before finally stepping out of the room. Daniel and Draco were last to go, both turning back to give her a nervous look.
When they were gone, Voldemort's demeanor changed. His smile faded and his eyes became angry.
"How did Arthur Weasley survive?"
The question caught Sofia by surprise. She hesitated a moment before answering.
"I don't know for sure. Hermione Granger said that Harry saw Mr. Weasley being attacked in a dream. He woke up screaming and I guess he told Dumbledore."
Sofia could tell that he was angry. He was beyond angry. He stayed silent for a moment, but crossed to the other side of the room and began to pace back and forth silently. It was several moments before he stopped and looked at Sofia.
"But of course," he muttered to himself, "it all makes sense now."
"What makes sense, My Lord?"
Instead of answering her question, he began to say something else
"It is time to make things happen. Dumbledore must be removed from Hogwarts. Harry Potter has been hosting secret defense lessons, has he not?"
Sofia nodded uneasily.
"Good. When you return to school, give it a few weeks and then I want you to turn him in. Do not do it yourself, we need him to trust you. Find a weak link and use the Imperius Curse."