May came, bringing sunny and warm weather to Hogwarts. Students began spending free time in the grounds, swimming in the lake or playing games with their friends.
Sofia spent her free time in the library, away from her peers. She allowed Luke, Natalie and Andrew to join her from time to time, but she preferred to be alone. She used the time to learn spells that were far past the traditional third year level. She could now perform most of the spells that would be tested on OWL exams by fifth years.
One evening she was sitting in the library reading when Natalie came running in out of breath.
"Sofia," she panted. "I just heard, Malfoy is in the hospital wing!"
Sofia slammed the book she was reading closed.
"What? What happened?"
Natalie took a few deep breaths before she replied.
"I'm not sure. I heard a Slytherin girl saying Harry attacked him. I know Luke and Andrew will be mad at me for telling you, but I know that you care about him."
Sofia shoved her things into her school bag and ran over to Natalie. She hugged her friend tightly.
"Thank you for telling me," she whispered.
She took off through the castle, winding her way through the corridors and staircases until she reached the hospital wing. She stepped inside slowly and quietly.
Draco was lying in a bed on the far side. He was the only person there.
Sofia walked over to his bed and sat down on the edge of it beside him. She picked his hand up and squeezed it tightly.
"He'll be alright," a cool voice said.
Professor Snape was walking towards her, his face blank and expressionless.
"What happened?" Sofia whispered.
"Potter," Snape snapped. "He nearly killed Draco. The boy is lucky I came along when I did."
There were blood stains on Draco's robes, and his skin was pale and cold. Sofia had a hard time believing that he would be alright. Not just because of whatever Harry had done to him, but because of the way his health had been getting increasingly worse over the past few months.
His face was shallow and sunken, with a grayish tint to his skin. His hair was ragged and poorly cut and he needed to shave badly.
"Please, Professor, what can I do to help him?"
"Help him? I'm sure Madame Pomfrey does not need your help."
"You know what I mean, Sir. With his task. How can I help?"
Snape began to pace the room uneasily.
"Has the boy not confided in you?" He asked.
Sofia shook her head.
"He had not confided in me either. It would seem that he has chosen to walk this path alone. If he does not wish you to help him then I am afraid there is nothing you can do."
Sofia bowed her head, still holding Draco's hand. She was afraid for him, afraid that he would fail, that he would die. Yet she was also afraid of the consequences for the wizarding world if he succeeded.
She looked up and realized that Snape was staring at her hard with narrowed eyes.
"If you are trying to get into my mind, it wont work."
Snape's eyes widened for a moment and Sofia lifted a hand to finger the ring on the chain around he neck. Then she had an idea. She focused her attention on Snape's mind and pushed hard. At first there was a heavy wall that blocked her path. She pushed hard against it and it cracked. She pushed again and it shattered. She suddenly found herself in the middle of his mind. She searched it quickly, not sure how long she had until he realized what she was doing. Memories and thoughts floated past her like whisks of clouds. She watched them, looking for anything that might help her.
She caught a glimpse of a middle aged blonde witch as one memory whizzed past her. She reached out and caught the memory.
Narcissa Malfoy was standing in a room with her hand linked to that of Severus Snape. Bellatrix Lestrange was standing over the two, her wand pointed at their linked hands. Coils like rope wound around their hands, binding them together. Sofia knew this magic at once. It was an Unbreakable Vow.
She pulled herself out of Snape's mind. He was glaring at her, looking furious.
"What did you do?" He demanded. "Tell me what you saw!"
"I don't know what you are talking about," Sofia lied.
She looked down at Draco, who was looked so weak and vulnerable. She knew that his mother would do anything and everything in her power to protect her son. She had gone to Snape for help, hoping that he would protect her son.
Did the witch not know where Snape's true loyalties were? Did she not realize that he was on Dumbledore's side? But then again, an Unbreakable Vow was not something that was made lightly. Perhaps he really was on Voldemort'd side. Or perhaps he was playing all of them, waiting to see who would come out on top.
"How did you get into my mind?" Snape demanded with a cool tone.
Sofia lifted the ring towards him.
"A little gift from my father," she replied in an equally cool tone. "Don't worry though, I have little interest in your memories. All I saw was the Unbreakable Vow you made with Draco's mother."
Snape stepped back, looking petrified.
"How dare you? I swear, girl, if you tell anyone-"
"I can't, remember? I've been ordered to stay out of the way. Telling the world your little secret would definitely go against my orders."
Snape glared at her for a moment before spinning around and hurrying from the hospital wing.
Sofia turned back to Draco when he was gone.
"Oh, Draco, what have we gotten ourselves into?"
She squeezed his hand again, wishing desperately to feel it squeeze back. She knew it wouldn't though. She knew that even if he were awake, he would only push her away.
She lifted a hand a brushed a stray hair from his closed eyes. She placed her free hand on his cheek. She closed her eyes and dove into his dreams.
Sofia was standing in the dinning room of the Malfoy Manor. The room was completely dark, the only light coming from the half moon outside. Looking around the room, Sofia saw a horrifying sight.
Draco was on his knees in front of the Dark Lord. His face was bruised, bloody and swollen. His parents were on his knees on his right. Lucius was as pale as Draco, his hair was knotted and his robes drenched in blood. Narcissa was shaking, her hands covering her face. On Draco's left Sofia saw herself, a deep cut on her cheek and clutching her right arm tight to her chest.
"You failed," Voldemort hissed. "Now you will pay."
Voldemort raised his wand and pointed it at Lucius. The broken man began to scream in pain. He collapsed to the floor, writhing as the pain endured. Narcissa squealed and reached for her husband but was frozen in place.
The torture endured for almost a minute. Then a flash of green came from Voldemort's wand and Lucius moved no more.
Narcissa was sobbing now, and Draco was shaking furiously. Sofia looked at herself, the only one not looking afraid. She was sitting silently, looking straight forward with a defiant glare.
Narcissa began to scream as Voldemort turned his wand on her. Her torture was considerably shorter. Draco lunged for his mother, but the flash of green came too quickly. She was dead before he reached her.
"Please," the boy croaked, and Sofia realized that he was crying. "Kill me. Don't hurt her. Just kill me."
Sofia realized that Draco was pleading for her own life. He had just watched his mother and father die, but she was the only one whom he asked Voldemort to spare.
"No, Draco. You love her. You care about her. You must be punished for your failure, and this is how it will be."
Voldemort turned his wand on the Sofia beside Draco. The real Sofia found it odd, watching her body spasm yet feeling no pain. She was shocked though, by how long it endured. It was almost five minutes straight before Voldemort finally stopped.
"Look into her eyes, Draco. Look at her and know that this was your fault. Had you not failed, you would not have to watch her die."
Sofia watched as Draco crawled over to the blonde girl, who was panting in pain. He lifted her up and held her in his arms, rocking her back and forth.
"I'm so sorry, Sofia," he sobbed. "This is all my fault. I'm so sorry. I love you. I'm so sorry."
He buried his face in her hair, stroking the back of her head with one hand. The body of Sofia lifted a shaky hand and placed it against his cheek.
"It will be okay Draco," the girl whispered. "I'll see you on the other side."
There was a flash of green and the blonde girl's hand fell from Draco's face and landed motionlessly against her chest.
Sofia snapped out of the dream and realized that she was shaking. She dropped Draco's hand and stood up, backing away from the bed.
"Ah, seeing someone's dreams can be a very emotional thing."
Sofia looked across the hospital wing. Professor Dumbledore was standing in front of the doors, looking at her calmly. He stepped towards her slowly as he spoke.
"You see, Sofia, dreams are the one place where a person cannot lie. Words, thoughts, actions, can all be misleading, but when the body shuts down and the brain is free to do as it pleases, it shows how we really feel, what we really think."
Sofia did not reply. She stared at Dumbledore as he sat down on the bed beside Draco's.
"You see, Sofia, I know that both of you care very much for each other. And I know there are no lengths that you two would not go to in order to protect each other. That is something I think should be valued above all else."
"But Sir, he won't talk to me. He shuts me out."
"He does not believe he has a choice. He thinks that it is the only way to protect you. He believed that if he fails, the further you are from him the less likely you are to be hurt by Voldemort."
"So, you know what he has planned?"
Dumbledore smiled sadly.
"I know many things. I know that Voldemort is using Draco to punish Lucius for his failure. Now, do not ask me any more questions. Just be there for the boy when he needs you. Try and convince him that his dream will not come true."
"How do you know it will not come true?" Sofia demanded.
"You wouldn't let it, would you? Nor would your parents."
He stood up, leaving Sofia alone with the unconscious Draco on the bed in front if her.
She stepped cautiously over to Draco and sat down beside him again. She missed him so much. She wanted things to go back to the way they were. She wanted him to sit up and wrap her in his arms, tell her that everything was going to be okay, and that he was right there for her. He wanted to hear him say that he wasn't going to leave her alone, that he would stay by her forever.
"Please, Draco, don't shut me out anymore. I need you. You need me. We're all we other have. Don't let that go."
She grabbed his hand again and held it tight. Then she covered her face with her free hand and began to cry silently.