Sofia spent the remainder of the holidays with Luke and his family outside of London. They spent time touring the countryside, shopping the busy city streets of London, and tightening the bond between them. Luke's parents endeared the blonde Danish girl, treating her as the daughter they never had. At the end of the holiday, Luke and Sofia returned to Hogwarts side by side.
Sofia's heart was heavy as she said goodbye to Luke and headed off towards the Gryffindor tower. Soon, however, she found herself wandering the fourth floor, not really knowing where she was going or why. She was consumed by thoughts that she had never before allowed to enter her mind.
Though she loved Luke's company, though he made her feel at peace, she missed Draco. He understood her more than anyone else could, and made her feel safe. She wanted to feel his arms around her, comforting her, protecting her. She needed him by her side right now.
She had done her best to block out memories of Jennifer Marquis during the remainder of the holidays, but now it all came rushing back, hitting her hard in her solitude. The poor woman had been brutally murdered, for no other reason than who her ancestor was. The woman did not have any idea of the power she could have had control over, had she been aware of the Adema curse. If only Sofia had not ran after Draco the night of Slughorn's Christmas party, if only she had stayed and confided in the witch, maybe, just maybe the heir or Rowena Ravenclaw might still be alive.
Sofia turned a corner and stopped in her tracks.
Draco was standing in front of her, his head bowed as he leaned against the wall. She was about to say something to him when she realized he was crying.
"No," he was sobbing. "I can't do this. I'm going to die. He's going to kill me."
He beat the wall with his fist, and sunk to his knees.
"Draco," Sofia whispered.
The boy looked up at her, a mix of pain and shock on his face.
"Get out of here, Sofia," he choked between sobs.
"No," Sofia whispered firmly as she stepped forward and knelt down beside him. "I'm not going anywhere. Don't you realize that by now?"
"Leave!" Draco shouted, jumping to his feet.
He drew his wand and pointed it at her as he took a step backwards.
"I'm not leaving," Sofia said firmly, standing up.
"Last chance, Sofia. I will curse you."
"Fat chance, Malfoy."
Natalie's brother Andrew stepped out from behind a corner and stepped beside Sofia, wand drawn and pointed at Draco. The look he threw the other boy was one filled with contempt.
"What's this, Sofia," Draco sneered, all of the pain removed from his face. "Too scared to face me by yourself so you decide to bring a body guard?"
"She didn't bring me," Andrew snarled. "Luke asked me to keep an eye on her. He was afraid she'd come running to you and that you'd try to hurt her."
Sofia was shocked. Luke had sent Andrew to watch her like a babysitter. Surely he knew she could take care of herself.
"If she stays out of my way, she wont get hurt. I can't say the same for you though."
Draco shot a curse that hit Andrew in the chest, sending him crashing into the wall and then slipping to the ground. Sofia screamed as Andrew raised his wand again. She stepped in between the two as they both sent curses at each other. The curses hit her and she fell to the ground, pain filling her head as she desperately hung on to consciousness.
"Sofia!" She heard Draco yell.
"What did you do?" Andrew screamed.
"I-I didn't mean to," Draco stuttered.
From the edges of blurred vision she saw Andrew lift his wand and start firing curses at Draco. Draco did not fire back, only deflecting and dodging the curses as he stared horrifically at Sofia, who began to feel like the work was spinning. She felt a numbness in her toes that slowly crept up through her body, until she was unable to see or feel anything at all.
Sofia awoke in the hospital wing the next day. Luke, Natalie and Andrew were all by her side, looking anxious as she sat up.
"What happened?" She asked.
She could vaguely remember seeing Draco crying in the seventh floor corridor, but everything after that was like a blank slate.
"Malfoy," Luke growled. "You stepped in between him and Andrew and got hit by both of them. Then the git ran away. I'm going to kill the coward next time I see him."
"Luke, no," Sofia whined.
Luke stood up, looking furious.
"You don't get it, Sof. You don't get it at all. He doesn't want to be friends with you. He doesn't care if he hurts you. He's bad, Sofia."
"He did come to see her while we were all at dinner," Natalie injected.
Luke threw her a horrified look.
"He what?" He snarled.
"When I came up here after dinner a little while ago he was sitting beside her holding her hand. Madam Pomfrey said he'd been there for hours. As soon as he saw me though he took off."
If looks had been able to kill, Draco would be dead. The angry fire in Luke's eyes made Sofia shrink away.
"I'll kill him," he growled. "He's as good as dead now."
"Luke, no," Sofia said, grabbing his hand and pulling him down into the bed beside her. "Please, just leave him alone. He didn't mean for this to happen. He didn't mean for any of it. Just stay away from him."
"What about you, Sof?" Andrew asked. "Are you going to stay away from him?"
Sofia looked at him, shock written on her face.
"Sofia," Luke cut her off. "I'll stay away from him if you promise that you will too. Don't go looking for him anymore."
Andrew and Natalie nodded their agreements. Sofia was left outnumbered and alone. She loved them all, she really did, but she loved Draco too. She knew that he needed her, even though he did not know it himself. She was torn, torn between her three friends and the person that had always been by her side. Who would she rather lose? Neither. But she could not tell them that. She knew the answer they wanted her to say, the answer that she had to say.
As it turned out, avoiding Draco was easy to do, since he seemed to be avoiding the rest of the world. Classes resumed the day after Sofia was released from the hospital wing. Even had she tried to talk to Draco, she was so busy with her classes that she would not have had time. The only times she saw him were the occasional meals that he actually went to in the Great Hall and on Thursdays when they passed in the corridors on her way from Transfiguration to Charms. Even that stopped after a while, and Sofia assumed he had begun to take a different route to avoid her.
Draco hated himself for hurting her. He hated himself for pushing her away, for worrying her and for not being there for her like he had promised always to be. He missed her friendship, her kindness, her trust. He missed the night at his house last Christmas when he had held her while she slept. She did not know it, but he had stayed awake all night just to watch over her and make sure she would not be alone.
She didn't deserve to be alone. She deserved someone who would always be by her side, always be able to protect her and care for her. He had never thought of her as more than a sister, but he realized now that he did not even deserve to have that much of her. She was so pure and so perfect, and he...he was dark and broken, crooked and a plague that would only destroy her.
She deserved Natalie, Andrew and Luke. She deserved them, and they deserved her. They would make her happy. They would not let her down.
A few nights after classes began again, Draco had just come back to the Slytherin common room when Pansy cornered him. He was in no mood to talk to her. Everything was going wrong. He was going to fail. He was going to die. The worst part though, was that he could not even confide in the one person he trusted most.
"There you are, Draco. Why have you been avoiding me?"
She grabbed his hand and touched his arm flirtatiously.
"Sorry," he mumbled. "Been busy."
"Oh come on, you're just in time to walk me to dinner."
It annoyed him at how absolutely annoying this girl could be. Sure, the past few years he had gone along with her flirting and even dared to take her on romantically, but for the past few months he had deliberately been giving her the cold shoulder, trying to wake her up to the realization that he was tired of her and wanted nothing to do with her. Yet for all his attempts, it had only seemed to attract her more.
"Oh alright," he growled, not having the strength to fight her. If he was going to die soon, he might as well try to enjoy his remaining time.
She dragged him out of the common room and to the Great Hall. She stuck close to him the entire time, talking to him loudly in an attempt to draw attention to the fact that they were together, holding hands. Draco ignored her as much as he could without being downright rude. People were staring, but he tried not to care.
"Draco," Pansy said as they entered the Great Hall. "Will you take me to Hogsmeade next time and buy me candy? We haven't gone together all year and you never got me a Christmas present."
Draco held back the sarcastic comment that came to his mind. He had hoped by not giving her a Christmas gift that she would take the hint that he was done with her. Apparently not.
"Sure," he said with a forced smile. "Anything you want."
Pansy squealed very childishly and reached up, planting a firm kiss on Draco's lips. When she pulled away Draco looked around the hall to see who had noticed. To his dismay, Sofia was staring right at him with a sad look in her eyes.
"Glad that girl finally realized her place," Pansy said when she realized who Draco was staring at. "Gryffindors have no business chasing after Slytherins."
They sat down at the Slytherin table as Draco said, "she wasn't chasing after me."
"Oh come on, Draco; the private conversations you two always had, how she always asked to see you whenever you were with me. She's been jealous of us since she got to Hogwarts. I mean, who wouldn't be?" She kissed his cheek as she said the last part. "At least she finally realized that she can't have you."
Pansy had it all wrong. It was he who would never have Sofia, who would always be alone.