It was the first Hogsmeade visit of the year, and though Sofia was not old enough to be allowed visits, that would not stop her from escaping the ever-suffocating walls of the castle. Besides, it was her only chance to speak with Draco alone.
"You know, one day you're going to get caught sneaking out of the castle and then you'll be in trouble for sure."
They were walking through the main street at Hogsmeade. Students and adults were all around them in the streets.
"Perhaps one day I will actually care."
"That's not very likely. It's hard to believe after all the times you've snuck out you haven't once been caught."
Sofia smiled as she said "maybe you should take lessons."
Draco stopped at Dervish and Banges. His Sneakoscope had broken and he needed it fixed.
"How is my brother?"
Draco stepped up to the shop and help open the door for her. She stepped inside and he followed. He stepped up to the counter and placed his Sneakoscope on it along with a galleon.
"He's fine. He told me about his tattoo and how you ran off after he told you. He said it has not burned since. Where did you go?"
Sofia looked around the shop. There were a few wizards and witches inside, and Sofia did not want to risk anyone overhearing their conversation.
Draco understood what she was thinking as he caught her looking around. He signaled to the door and they left quickly. They walked down toward the end of the village, where the streets were emptier.
"I went to your house," Sofia said, once she was sure no one could hear them.
Draco turned on her, his eyes full of surprise.
"What? Why would you do that?"
"I went to see Voldemort."
Draco flinched as she said the name.
"I begged him to leave my brother alone. He agreed."
"He actually agreed?" Draco was stunned, and Sofia could understand why. People just didn't walk up to the Dark Lord and ask for favors and he didn't just agree.
"What did you have to trade your brother's freedom for?"
Sofia looked at the ground, her guilt gripping her heart.
"I can't tell you," she whispered, "you know I can't."
Draco sighed. "I wish you could. I could help you."
Sofia shook her head.
"You know you couldn't. It is my task to bear alone."
"Sof, you know how much I despise the rest of your house, but there is not length I would not go to for you. Please, let me help you get through this."
"And what happens after I get through this task? Will you help me with the next? And the next after that?"
"Of course! Why wouldn't I-"
She cut him off.
"No, Draco. You can't live through my life with me. You can't be there to hold me hand through all of this. You know that."
"It doesn't mean I cannot try," he whispered softly.
Sofia felt her heart warming at his compassion.
"Draco," she reached up and placed a hand on his face softly. "You are my closest friend and I would trust you with my life, but what I need you to do is take care of my brother. Protect him, like you have tried to protect me."
Draco nodded and pulled her into a hug, his embrace warming Sofia inside and out.
Draco left her around noon to meet his friends. She wandered alone on the main street until she heard a voice calling her name through the crowd.
She turned around. Luke was walking towards her, a huge smile on his face.
"Hey Luke," she said nervously as he reached her, unsure of how to react. It was the first time they had talked since the Owlery.
"Hey, I'm headed to a meeting at Hog's Head. Would you like to come?"
His voice was relaxed, making Sofia feel calmer.
"What kind of meeting is it?" She asked.
Luke lowered his voice.
"I heard from Cho Chang that it's something about learning Defense Against the Dark Arts."
Sofia smiled. "Alright, I'll go with you."