Sofia left the hospital wing later that night. Draco had still not woken up, but she had decided to leave when Natalie came running in to warn her that Pansy Parkinson was in her way up.
"All hell will break loose if she finds you up here," Natalie said.
Sofia agreed. She had been hoping to be here when Draco woke up so that she could talk to him, but it looks like that was not going to happen. She reached into her bag and pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill.
"Can you do something to slow her down for a few minutes?" Sofia asked.
Natalie nodded as a huge smile crossed her face.
"I have some things from Fred and George's shop in my bag that I've been waiting for a reason to try out. Don't worry, I'll cover you."
Sofia smiled. Natalie had always been such a good friend, and Sofia knew she could count on the girl for anything.
She set the parchment down on the table beside Draco's bed and began to scribble furiously. Two minutes later she folded up the parchment and tucked it into the pocket of Draco's robes, not wanting Pansy to find it. She grabbed his hand and squeezed it one last time before she ran out of the hospital wing.
When Draco woke the next morning, Pansy was sitting beside him. He groaned as she squealed and bent over him.
"Oh Draco, I've been so worried! I came as soon as I heard. What happened?"
Draco had vague memories of the day before. He remembered standing in the boys bathroom. He could see Potter facing him, saw a bright flash of light. The next thing he could remember was kneeling on the floor in the dinning room of his home, holding Sofia's dead body in his arms.
"I don't know," he whispered. He felt his terror at his dream rising up in his heart.
Draco was relieved when Pansy finally left him to go to her classes. He was also relieved when Madam Pomfrey told him he was to stay in the hospital wing another day. He did not want to face his teachers and classmates today.
He reached into his pockets to look for his watch, but instead found a folded piece of parchment. He pulled it out and opened it up. He immediately recognized the swirls and lines of the handwriting.
My Dearest Draco,
I wish that I could be there when you wake up, but I do not with to cause strife with Pansy. Please, just know that I was there for you. I will always be here for you whenever you need me, whether you want me there or not. I know what you are afraid of. I have seen it in your dreams. You fear that the Dark Lord will kill your parents if you fail whatever task he has given you. But you also fear that he will kill me as well. Draco, he has already killed me. With every order he gives me, every task he forces me to do against my will, he kills a lite piece of me. Nothing he can do to me can hurt me anymore. My brothers are safe. My family is safe. My life is of little importance to me. All he can take from me is you. By shutting me out, you are allowing him to do just that. Surely you realize that he wants you to feel alone. He wants you to fail. He expects you to fail. But Draco, together we can prove him wrong. Together we can make sure that your family stays safe. You are trying to protect me, and I know that, but you can't anymore. No one can protect me. I know that now. I have been protected for fourteen year. Now it is my turn to become the protector. You are not alone. I know you feel like you are. I know you think that death is waiting for you. The truth is, death is waiting for all of us. In time, it will claim all of us. There is no escape. Even the Dark Lord will fall one day. There is no stopping death. All we can do is try to make sure that when it claims us, it does so on our terms. I won't let the Dark Lord take your life. I will die before he raises a hand against you. That is a promise.
Sofia's name was signed at the bottom. Her words rang in Draco's head, and he could practically hear her sweet voice speaking them. There is no stopping death. It was coming for him. Sofia could not stop it. Though she would try, she was powerless against the Dark Lord. Death was coming, waiting silently around every corner for the moment he would fail. He wasn't going to bring her down with him.
June came swiftly, bringing even warmer weather and the stress of exams. Most of the school spent all of it's free time studying, meaning that Sofia hardly saw Luke and Andrew. They were always studying together, while Sofia helped Natalie study for their exams. The girl was nervous, even though she had no right to be. She was a quick learner and was one of the top students in their year behind Sofia, and she was exceptional at spell work. The only classes she really needed to work hard in were Astronomy and History of Magic. She studied vigorously during every free moment she had, nearly driving Sofia crazy with all of her worrying.
Late one evening the two were studying History of Magic in the common room after everyone else had gone to bed. Sofia was just about to call it a night when she felt her tattoo begin to burn.
She got up from the chair she was sitting in and looked walked over to the window. She looked out, but could see nothing but darkness. The moon and stars were all covered by clouds, and even Hagrid's hut was dark.
The air was heavy, just as it had been a year ago on the night of the battle at the ministry. Something dark was lurking in the shadows, waiting to make it's move out into the open.
"Natalie, I need you to go and wake up Professor McGonagall."
Natalie looked at Sofia, stunned and worried.
"Why? What's going on?"
"Tell her to get Dumbledore and the other teachers. Tell her to alert the Order of the Phoenix. Something's not right. Tell her that something bad is coming."
Sofia tried to tell her that Voldemort was planning something, but her mouth was forced shut by the curse. She could not betray her master's secrets any more than she already had. Natalie did not move. She stayed sitting where she was, frozen in shock.
"Go!" Sofia shouted.
Natalie jerked out of her shock and stood up. She ran from the common room.
Sofia waited for the girl to disappear from sight before she darted upstairs to her dormitory. She grabbed her invisibility cloak from her trunk and then ran downstairs, running down the portrait hole as she tucked the invisibility cloak into the pocket of her robes. Outside she looked around to make sure no one was nearby, then she transformed. She took off through the castle, her white fury paws allowing her to sprint silently, not waking up any of the portraits. She ran swiftly up the stairs to the seventh floor corridor. There, Draco was standing outside the Room of Requirement.
Several Death Eaters were with him, along with one person who terrified Sofia. It was Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf.
"Get out of here, Sofia," Draco said angrily.
She transformed again, standing up tall.
"The Order of the Phoenix is on its way."
"Ah," Greyback said, stepping towards her. "So this is the Dark Lord's faithful pet. She stays with us Draco."
"No. The Dark Lord has ordered it. But she is to stay out of sight."
Sofia took the invisibility cloak out of her pocket and threw it around her, disappearing from the sight of the Death Eaters.
Draco threw one terrified look in Sofia's direction and then he turned to the others.
He started running down the corridor, the Death Eaters following. Sofia transformed and ran after them, her invisible wolf body shaking with fear. Draco's plans were falling into place. Sofia wished she knew what they were so that she knew what to expect.
As the group entered the Grand Staircase, there was a crack as they turned the corner. The wall above their heads exploded and curses began flying towards the group. The Death Eaters scattered. They started firing back. Sofia kept running, following Draco as the blonde boy ducked down to avoid the spells. She caught a glimpse of some of the members of the Order of the Phoenix as they ran to meet the Death Eaters. Sofia recognized several members of the Weasley family among them.
She wanted to call out to Draco, to tell him to stop. She ducked as a body flew over her head. It landed a few feet in front of her. As she jumped over it and nearly gagged as she saw the body covered in blood.
She was forced to jump aside as the wall next to her shattered and pieces of it flew everywhere. She nearly lost sight of Draco as she fell further behind him. She sprinted faster to catch up with him as he began to climb the stairs towards the clock tower. The sounds of the battle began fading below, as Sofia and Draco went up higher and higher. Draco threw open the door to the tower and Sofia dove in just as he slammed the door shut.
He climbed the last few flights of stairs much slower, and Sofia crept after him. He waited for a moment just outside the door. Then he blasted it open with his wand and charged into the room. Sofia darted in after him as she heard him yell, "Expelliarmus!"
Sofia saw a wand fly in an arc over the edge of the ramparts and disappear out of sight. She looked to the owner of the wand and nearly yelped in shock. It was Dumbledore, and he was backed against the ramparts completely alone.
"Good evening, Draco," Dumbledore said in a weak voice.
Draco stepped forward, glancing around quickly. From under her invisibility cloak, Sofia did the same. That was when she noticed it high in the sky; the Dark Mark glowing bright in the sky.
"Who else is here?" Draco asked, as his eyes set upon two brooms next to Dumbledore.
"A question I might ask you. Or are you acting alone?"
Draco looked back to Dumbledore.
"No," he said. "I've got backup. There are Death Eaters here in your school tonight."
"Well, well," Dumbledore said. "Very good indeed. You found a way to let them in, did you?"
"Yeah," Draco said panting. "Right under your nose and you never realized!"
"Ingenious, yet...forgive me...where are they now? You seem unsupported."
"They met some of your guards. They're having a fight down below. They won't be long...I came on ahead. I-I've got a job to do."
"Well, then, you must go on and do it, my dear boy," Dumbledore said softly.
That was the moment it all hit Sofia like a fast moving train. Draco's job, his task, it was to kill Dumbledore. Of course he was expected to fail; even Voldemort himself had been unable to defeat the great wise wizard. Yet here Dumbledore was, unarmed, weak and at the mercy of someone who was barely a man.
"Draco," Dumbledore said. "Draco, you are not a killer."
"How do you know?" Draco cried, his face flushing. "You don't know what I'm capable of, you don't know what I've done!"
Sofia tried to throw off her cloak and dive in front of Dumbledore, but her feet were rooted to the spot. She wanted to stand in front of Draco, to stop him, but Voldemort's orders to stay out of the way held her where she stood. Draco would not harm her. If only she could get between him and Dumbledore, maybe she could stop this.
"Oh yes, I do," Dumbledore was saying. "You almost killed Katie Bell and Ronald Weasley. You have been trying, with increasing desperation, to kill me all year. Forgive me, Draco, but they have been feeble attempts...so feeble, to be honest, that I wondered whether your heart has been really in it."
"It has been in it!" Draco shouted.
Another option came to Sofia. Voldemort controlled her body, but not her mind. She reached out with it and broke into Draco's own weak mind.
You're lying, she thought to him.
She saw him twitch and knew that he had heard her. She thought to him again as he spoke to Dumbledore.
Please, Draco, stop this now, while we have time. Let us run, let us escape. Do not destroy the goodness in your heart. Let me help you. Let Dumbledore help you.
SHUT UP! Leave, now!
Sofia stood her ground even as Draco's voice rang through her head. She listened silently as Draco and Dumbledore talked, listening at how Draco had managed to smuggle the Death Eaters into the school, how he was responsible for Katie Bell being cursed by the necklace. She listened to the stories if Draco's failures and accomplishments, and listened as the sounds of battle neared the top of the tower.
She picked up a scent that she recognized. She sniffed the air to identify it. Harry Potter was somewhere in the tower. He was here, watching as his hero stood at the mercy of the boy he hated.
The door burst open and three of the Death Eaters, along with Greyback, charged into the room, just as Draco began to lower his wand. They exchanged comments with Dumbledore and Draco for several minutes.
Sofia's fur was standing up straight, her nerves on edge. The Death Eaters were enticing Draco, trying to get him to act. They were anxious for him to kill Dumbledore. They wanted to do it themselves, but they had their orders, just as Draco had his.
Draco, please, Sofia pleaded. Stop this. Stop this now. Please, be strong.
The door flew open one last time, and Severus Snape flew into the room. He shoved the other Death Eaters out of the way, and stepped in front of Draco. His wand was pointed at Dumbledore, hatred and anger watched in every line on his face.
"Severus..." Dumbledore whispered softly.
The Death Eaters seemed to shrink back beneath Snape. They were scared of him, terrified of the man with such hatred in his heart.
The old man's voice was barely audible, even to the ears of a wolf. His eyes were desperate and pleading, and he looked as though he was hardly able to stand.
Snape raised his wand, pointing it straight at Dumbledore's heart.
A jet of green shot from Snape's wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the heart. Sofia howled with terror as the old man fell backwards in a broken downwards fall off the tower.
Author's note: thanks to everyone who continues to follow my stories. Your support means a lot. Keep your ideas and comments coming. I am happy to listen to them!!!