For the next few weeks, Sofia avoided as much human contact as possible. She attended meals and classes and then would spend the rest of her free time stowed away in a cove or windowsill where she could be alone.
She spent much of her new free time reading and practicing new spells. Already she had learned every jinx, charm and curse in her third year books. She was now moving on to some of the more advanced books that she owned. She had even asked her parents to send her more from their library at home.
Life for Sofia at Hogwarts became more about avoiding human contact than learning magic. Many times she wrote to her parents, begging them to withdraw her, but they refused. They tried to comfort her, but since she refused to tell them why she wanted to leave the school, they did not truly know how to comfort their daughter.
Her father's most recent letter had been different from the rest though.
Once again I will tell you that we cannot withdraw you from school right now. Your friends need you there. It is where you are supposed to be. There is a man that I know who I believe it is time you met. I have known him for a long time, and he has taught me a great deal. I believe you are finally ready to learn all he has to teach you. His name is Origant and he lives just outside of Hogsmeade. On your next visit, go to him. You must be careful though. He is wise and powerful but he is known to be uncontrollable. You must have caution around him, but do not show fear. He will see it as a weakness and will look to expel the weakness.
Sofia had never heard her father mention this man. She wondered what magic her father could possibly learn from him. After all, her father was the most powerful wizard in the world.
She pushed the letter out of her mind. She had a potions essay to write.
Luke cornered Draco after breakfast one morning.
"What do you want, Wolfrick?" Draco demanded, as Luke blocked his path.
"What's going on with Sofia?" Luke snapped.
"What's the matter? Can't keep up with your girlfriend? Is she a bit too good for you?"
"Shut up, Malfoy. If you care about her at all, tell me what's wrong with her!"
"How should I know?" Draco growled. "I hardly see her any more. Can't tell you the last time we even spoke a word to each other."
"That's the problem!" Luke shouted. "She won't talk to anyone. If someone walks towards her, she runs the other way. I don't think she's been eating and Natalie doesn't think she's sleeping either."
Draco felt his heart breaking. Sofia was breaking down. There was no other explanation. He had suspected she had been involved in the murder of Hannah Abbott's mother. If what Luke was saying was true, maybe she had finally reached her breaking point.
"Please," Luke begged. "I don't know what to do. I've tried talking to teachers but she shuts them out too. Dumbledore has tried to get her to open up but she refuses. Please help me. Help her."
Draco looked at Luke for a long moment.
"I'll see what I can do."
Sofia was reading in a windowsill on the fourth floor when she heard someone coming towards her. She looked up and saw Draco, although it was not the Draco she remembered.
His eyes were dark and puffy, and he looked like he had not slept in a while. His skin looked paler than normal and it looked like he had not been eating properly.
"You look awful," she said as he walked towards her.
"What are you doing?" He asked, ignoring her comment.
"Reading," she replied.
"That's not what I meant. I meant what are you doing here, alone, blocking people out?"
"I don't have a choice," she said dryly. "It's for their own good."
Draco sat down on the windowsill beside her.
"When are you going to learn that people don't give a damn about their own good. You're all they're worried about, and they're not going to stop worrying."
"They'll forget about me soon enough. I'll keep my distance and eventually I'll be nothing more than a memory."
"Don't be so sure," Draco growled. "Luke loves you. He will hold on longer than the others."
Sofia felt emotion rising and she forced it back down. She reached for Draco's hand.
"You are the only person I can keep in my life," she whispered softly.
Draco jumped up and pulled his hand away quickly.
"No, Sofia," he said angrily. "You need them, not me. Don't put your faith in me. Just go back to them."
He hurried away, leaving her sitting alone on the windowsill, feeling more alone than ever.
Halfway through October, the first Hogsmeade trip of the year came. Sofia was anxious to meet this Origant person her father had spoken about. As she made her way through the village, she felt the anxiety growing.
She turned down the last street in the little village, checked to make sure no one was watching, and then transformed. She trotted down the street until she reached the end of the road.
There was a valley below the road, and a small single floor, worn-down cottage sat lonely and quiet. Windows were broken and the roof had a hole in it. A piece of the siding looked like it was falling off. This must be where Origant lived.
She trotted down the hill and was shocked by it's steepness. She slipped a few times, her paws nearly slipping out from under her. She was relieved when the ground leveled out in front of the house.
She walked slowly up to the door. It was cracked open, showing off the darkness inside. Sofia lifted a paw and pushed against it gently, pushing it open a little bit more. She squeezed inside and looked around.
The inside looked nothing like the out.
Even through the dark, Sofia's wolf-eyes could make out the elegance of the house. She stood in an entrance way that appeared bigger than the house itself looked from the outside. Straight in front of her there was a large ornate staircase that led to at least two more floors. On the left Sofia could make out a dinning room through a dark doorway. On the right there was a sitting room, dark and empty.
"I have been expecting you," a voice whispered from the shadows.