Sofia sat in the common room late that afternoon, recounting her day to Natalie. She told Natalie that she had snuck out of the castle to spend time with Draco, that she had ran into Luke and they had spent the rest of the afternoon together, that he had kissed her goodbye before she came back to the common room.
She could still feel his lips on hers. It had been a soft, gentle kiss, and Sofia was longing to feel the warmth again.
"Oh my goodness I can't believe it!" Natalie squealed, causing other people in the common room to look over at her. She looked around embarrassed, and then lowered her voice.
"So are you guys officially a thing?"
"I'm not sure. I didn't really ask."
Natalie looked appalled, almost hurt.
"Don't you want to know if he feels the same way about you that you feel about him?"
"That's the problem," Sofia said, looking at the ground. "I'm not sure how I feel about him."
Natalie stood up suddenly.
"I was planning on meeting my brother before dinner anyway. I'll find out what Luke has told him and I'll let you know."
Before Sofia could protest, her friend had ran off down the portrait hole.
"Ball of energy, that one is."
Sofia looked up as Harry sat down beside her.
"She's still a child. She doesn't know what the world is really like."
Harry looked at her thoughtfully for a moment.
"Is she one of the ones you want to protect. Remember, our conversation the other night?"
Sofia could not forget it. She nodded.
"She is one of them, yes."
Harry looked around to make sure no one was listening to them. Luckily everyone seemed busy with their own tasks, studying, playing games, or talking with friends.
"Who are the others?"
"Why do you ask?"
Harry looked at her and then looked at the ground.
"It's just...the other day, you talked as if you know what this is like...know how it feels to face him, or at least a similar situation."
Sofia bit her lip uncomfortably as she thought of how to word her response.
"Voldemort was in power before my time, but the past twelve years I have lived with the destruction he caused. Like you Harry, the pain did not end when he fell. My family was changed, scarred. Now that he is back, I would go to the ends of the earth to protect my brothers from the same fate my parents had to endure."
"But you didn't have to endure it either. Why are you taking on this responsibility instead of your parents?"
"Because I have had to endure it, though not in the same way. As the oldest, family tradition dictates that the responsibilities fall on me."
Harry looked at her with a confused expression.
"But you can change traditions."
Sofia shook her head. This conversation was getting closer to her secret than she was comfortable with.
"Not in my family. In my family, tradition runs through our blood and we are bound by it. It is a deep and terrible magic that gave us our powers, and we must pay a heavy price for them."
Harry nodded, finally beginning to understand more about Sofia.
"Your family isn't like any other magical family alive, are they?"
Sofia shook her head.
"We have powers others cannot even dream of, but responsibilities that other would not be able to bear."
"Could you help with this Defense Against the Dark Arts training?" Harry asked, and Sofia was relieved by the change in subject.
"I can certainly try. I'll admit that most of the things my parents taught me are charms and transfigurations but I know a few things. I also have plenty of books that might come in handy. I'll ask my parents to send them."
Harry nodded and stood up.
"Thank you, I really appreciate this. Not just your help, but talking to you. Sometimes I forget you're only twelve because of how wise you are."
He left Sofia alone by the fire as he left the common room through the portal hole. Sofia looked around that other students too had begun to head to dinner, and she stood up to follow them.
"Oh my goodness you are all Luke talks about!"
Sofia was tired of Natalie's squeals, and thankful that the rest of the Gryffindors were too consumed in their dinner and their own conversations to notice.
"Andrew said that he is crazy for you! Oh my goodness this is so exciting."
Sofia looked around the Great Hall. Her eyes found Luke at the Ravenclaw table, and their eyes met. He smiled and lifted a hand in a small wave. The boy sitting across from him, Natalie's brother Andrew, turned to see who Luke was waving at. He saw it was Sofia and he turned back around.
"Earth to Sof," Natalie said, taping her on her head. "I'm talking to you."
"I heard you," Sofia grumbled. "You said that I should have told you I was meeting him. Except I wasn't meeting him."
Natalie snorted and took a bite of food from her plate. As Sofia went to do the same, something small fluttered down and landed beside her. It was a small eagle figurine. Sofia looked over to the Slytherin table and saw Draco and Daniel whispering to each other, casting excited glances her direction.
"Honestly, Sof, I don't understand why you are friends with him or why you would trust your brother around him."
Sofia picked up the figurine. As she did, it broke in half and a small piece of parchment came out of the middle. The figurine fixed itself again and then flew back across the Great Hall to Daniel's outstretched hand. Sofia read the parchment silently.
Isn't this so cool, Sof? Draco taught it too me so now we can stay in touch. He says he'll show you too!
The letter turned to ash as Sofia finished reading it.
"That is so cool!" Natalie gasped, her eyes wide with curiosity.
Sofia took out her wand. She took out the wolf figurine Draco had given her and tapped it with her wand, muttering a spell under her breath. The figurine leapt to life, jumping from her hand and disappearing under tables as it raced across the Great Hall.
She smiled, knowing her brother and Draco would both be shocked to open the note with the words 'good thing I already know how' scribbled across it.
Natalie was staring at her, her mouth open wide in shock.
"I don't think I'll ever understand you Adema's."
Sofia's wolf scurried back to her, followed by a figure Sofia did not recognize. She picked it up to examine, and as it opened she realized it was an owl. She picked up the note and read it.
Bad news from Father this morning. You and your brother have to come home with me for Christmas. His orders.
By 'his orders' Sofia knew Draco was not referring to his father. He was referring to someone much more sinister, who at that very moment was devising an evil plan hundreds of miles away.