Sofia had barely spoken three words to her friends since the Hogwarts Express had pulled out of Kings Cross Station. Now they were worried. They had tried to pry her open but she had shit down, closing them out. Natalie had tracked down Sofia's little brother Daniel to see if he knew what was going on, but he did he would not say.
Running out of options, Natalie turned to the one person she had sworn she would never associate with.
She took a deep breath as he slid open the compartment door.
"What do you want?" Draco Malfoy snarled.
He was sitting alone, which relieved a bit of Natalie's tension. She slid the door closed behind her and sat down across from him. He glared at her.
"Look, I don't want to be here any more than you want me here, but we both love Sofia."
At the mention of the Danish girls name, Draco's face became worried.
"Is she okay? She hasn't returned any of my letters and I couldn't find her on the platform earlier."
Natalie took a deep breath. Her only hope seemed to know nothing.
"She isn't talking to any of us. She just keeps staring out the window. Her brother either doesn't know anything or wont tell me what's wrong."
Draco stood up and slid the compartment door open. He walked out, leaving Natalie to scramble after him.
He walked down the train corridor until he reached the compartment that Sofia always shared with her friends. He slammed the door open and walked inside. Sofia was staring out the window, watching the rolling green hills but not really seeing them.
Draco stepped towards her stooped over and picked her up by the waist.
"What?" Sofia yelped.
Draco threw her over his shoulder as she began kicking and screaming at him.
"Put me down. You put me down right now."
Draco walked out of the compartment and headed back to his own. Doors were sliding open as people looked to see what was going on.
"What is your problem?" Sofia shrieked as Draco threw her onto the seat in his compartment. He slammed the door shut and stood in front of it, blocking her only escape route.
"You are not leaving this compartment until you tell me what is going on."
Sofia pulled her wand out and pointed it at Draco's chest.
"Get out of my way. Don't think I won't hesitate to jinx you."
"Oh I know you wouldn't think twice about it. But then you'd have to drag me out of the way to open the door and I don't think you're strong enough for that."
Sofia lowered her wand but kept it out. She stayed silent, just glared at Draco angrily.
"Look, Sof, I know you are scared, but please talk to me. You can't shut me out. Is it the Dark Lord? Did he summon you?"
"You don't know?" Sofia looked surprised. "I was at your house. Voldemort was at your house."
Draco looked surprised.
"I was away with my mother visiting her parents the last two weeks of the holiday."
Sofia looked at the ground.
"Draco, I want to tell you but I can't. I just can't."
Draco knew she was telling the truth. If the Dark Lord had told her anything, he had told her in the strictest confidence.
"In times of old when I was new
And Hogwarts barely started
The founders of our noble school
Thought never to be parted:
United by a common goal,
They had the selfsame yearning,
To make the world's best magic school
And pass along their learning.
'Together we will build and teach!'
The four good friends decided
And never did they dream that they
Might someday be divided,
For we're there such friends anywhere
As Slytherin and Gryffindor?
Unless it was the second pair
Of Hufflepufd and Ravenclaw?
So how could it have gone so wrong?
How could such friendship fail?
Why, I was there and so can tell
The whole sad, sorry tale.
Said Slytherin, 'We'll teach just those
Whose ancestry is purest.'
Said Ravenclaw, 'We'll those whose
Intelligence is surest.'
Said Gryffindor, 'We'll teach all those
With brave deeds to their name.'
Said Hufflepuff, 'I'll teach the lot,
And treat them just the same.'
These differences caused little strife
When first they came to light,
For each of the four founders had
A House in which they might
Take only those they wanted, so,
For instance, Slytherin,
Took only pure-blood wizards
Of great cunning, just like him,
And only those of sharpest mind
Were taught by Ravenclaw
While the bravest and the boldest
Went to daring Gryffindor.
Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest,
And taught them all she knew,
This the Houses and their founders
Retained friendships firm and true.
So Hogwarts worked in harmony
For several happy years,
But then discord crept among us
Feeding on our faults and fears.
The Houses that, like pillars four,
Had once held up our school,
Now turned upon each other and,
Divided, sought to rule.
And for a while it seemed the school
Must meed an early end,
What with dueling and with fighting
And the clash of friend on friend
And at last there came a morning
When old Slytherin departed
And though the fighting then died out
He left us quite downhearted.
And never since the founders four
Were whittled down to three
Have the Houses been united
As they once were meant to be.
And now the Sorting Hat is here
And you all know the score:
I sort you into Houses
Because that us what I'm for,
But this year I'll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it's wrong,
Though I must fulfill my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether sorting
May not bring the end I fear.
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we'll crumble from within
I have told you, I have warned you....
Let the Sorting now begin."
Applause broke out throughout the Great Hall, but it was punctured with uncertain murmurs and whispers.
Sofia fidgeted in her seat nervously. She knew that if the Sorting Hat was giving out warnings, things must be really bad. But what did it mean by uniting or crumbling?
The sorting began with Euan Abercrombie, who was placed in Gryffindor.
Sofia watched her brother step up to the stool. His bright blue eyes looked excited.
"Ah, another Adema" the Sorting Hat began "your sister has done well in Gryffindor, as would you if you were to join you. But I believe that you two will be crucial in the uniting of the school. So I'll place you in SLYTHERIN."
Sofia clapped loudly, but she saw the people around her staring at her. Siblings were not often separated, though it was not unheard of. She knew he would fit in alright. Draco would help to see to that.
The sorting ended and the feast began. As students began filling their plates with food. Sofia shot up from the Gryffindor table and wove her way over to the Slytherin table where her brother sat making friends. She wrapped her arms around him from behind and squeezed him tightly.
"I'm so proud of you," she whispered in his ear. "If you need something and can't find me, I want you to go to Draco Malfoy. He's the big brother we never had."
Daniel looked up at her and smiled.
"I will Sof, but if you don't stop embarrassing me in front of my new friends, I'll hex you."
Sofia smiled back at him and ruffled his sandy hair.
"Watch your back little bro. I do have a years more practice than you."
She ducked away as her brother threw a lighthearted punch at her face.
"I'm still stronger than you," he called as Sofia ran back to the Gryffindor table. As she passed the Ravenclaw table, she caught Luke's eye and waved at him. He smiled and waved back.
The feast ended and Dumbledore stood to speak. He introduced the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, a short toad-like woman dressed in pink. As he tried to continue his beginning of the year notices, she stood up to make her own speech. Sofia was not listening though.
She knew this woman. Her parents had spoken about her many times. She worked for the Minister, and she was as foul as a woman could be without delving in Dark Magic.
This was what Voldemort had been talking about. Clearly Fudge wanted to send someone in to squash out anyone who believed that the Dark Lord had returned once more.
"It means the Ministry's interfering at Hogwarts," Sofia heard Hermione say from a little ways down the table.
Sofia sighed, as she realized that bright witch only knew half of it.