“I’m going to kill Crabbe,” a male voice whispered.
“Draco may have already,” a female voice replied.
Sofia opened her eyes and found herself staring up into the bright lights of the hospital wing. She struggled to sit up, but felt a hand on her right shoulder holding her down.
“Don’t sit up.”
She looked to her right and saw Daniel sitting on the bed next to her. Her cousins were sitting around her too, all looking worried. Ginny and Natalie were there too, looking furious.
“What happened?” Sofia asked.
“Crabbe rammed you from above after you caught the Snitch. You fell almost thirty five meters. Draco was furious. He tackled Crabbe and they fell off their brooms too. Draco was fine but Crabbe had a black eye and a cracked wrist. If Madame Hooch hadn’t gotten between the two then Draco may have murdered him.”
“At least we won,” Sofia said.
“Quidditch has been cancelled,” James grumbled.
“What do you mean?” Sofia asked.
James looked at Ginny uncertainly and she looked at the ground.
“Snape has cancelled Quidditch until further notice. He said he had been reluctant to allow Quidditch to go on at all this year.”
“But why?” Sofia asked. “Why has he cancelled it now?”
“He said the Adema children are causing too much trouble in the sport,” Daniel grumbled.
“Well I think this is all a bunch of rubbish,” Evanna chimed in from the foot of the bed. “People get so worked up about a game, and they take it to such extreme levels.”
“That means a lot coming from the girl who used to scream whenever she lost in Splash,” Julius taunted.
Evanna threw him a dark look.
“I was never willing to start a fight over it,” she said defensively.
Sofia threw her covers back and swung her legs over the side of the bed, almost kicking Daniel.
“Where do you think you’re going?” He demanded.
“I’m going to speak with our lovely headmaster and give him a piece of my mind.”
“Sof, don’t” Lilliana said. “He blames you for all of this. You’ll only make it worse.”
“Why does he blame me?”
“We don’t know,” Marcus replied. “He said something about you messing everything up, getting into trouble.”
“I’ve done nothing!” Sofia said defensively.
“We know that,” Ginny said. “Neville and I have been stirring up all kinds of trouble, and we’ve managed to keep the Carrows busy, but Snape still has some personal vendetta against you and we can’t figure out why. I even asked Professor McGonagall but she didn’t know.”
“Well of course she didn’t know,” Sofia said. “It’s not like she and Snape are best buddies or anything. Look, I have to face him, even if he doesn’t want to see me. I know things that no one else knows.”
“Like what?” Daniel asked.
Sofia stood up and started to walk out. She ignored Daniel’s protests and made her way from the hospital wing towards the headmaster’s office. On her way she came face to face with Professor McGonagall.
“Oh, Miss Adema, thank goodness you are alright. You have us all quite a scare. How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine, Professor.”
“That’s good to hear. But I must ask you, what are you doing in this part of the castle at this hour? It is late on a Sunday and classes begin tomorrow. Shouldn’t you be finishing up homework or getting ready for bed?”
“Um…actually, Professor, I was on my way to see Professor Snape,” Sofia admitted, knowing that McGonagall would not approve.
“I was afraid you were. I am sorry, Miss Adema, but I cannot allow you to visit the headmaster at this time. He is rather busy and does not want to be disturbed.”
“Professor, I know he isn’t really that busy. I know he is just hiding behind that stone gargoyle doing absolutely nothing, and I know that you dislike him as much as anyone. Please, I need to speak with him.”
“No, Miss Adema. That is my final word. I will not allow you to go and start a fight with him. You may think that you can take care of yourself, but it is my duty to protect my students. Why do you think I stayed at Hogwarts, loyalty to our new headmaster? No, Miss Adema, I stayed because I want to protect you all from his tyranny. I am doing the best that I can, but even the other teachers and I have limits to our powers.”
“I can protect the students,” Sofia said. “That’s why I came back. It’s my duty.”
“Right now, you shall accompany me back to the Gryffindor common room where you shall remain for the rest of the night. If I catch you or any of your family out of bed than I shall give whoever it is a month worth of detention.”
Sofia followed Professor McGonagall up to the common room grudgingly. In her mind she was playing through ways to sneak out later that night and get to Snape’s office, but she knew Professor McGonagall would probably be patrolling the corridors outside the Gryffindor common room. Even if she did get to Snape’s office, he would probably just give her detention for being out of bed after hours. It was looking like she would have to find another way to get to the headmaster.
Then Sofia walked into the common room, Ginny was waiting for her in a chair next to the fire. Seamus was there as well, working on a potions essay.
“Have you seen Luna?” Ginny asked. “She didn’t meet me this afternoon which is odd because she is never late. Neville said she wasn’t at dinner either.”
“I haven’t seen her,” Sofia replied, growing nervous. It was not like Luna to disappear or miss a meal. “Have you talked to any Ravenclaws?”
“I asked Andrew and he said he hasn’t seen her since the match yesterday.”
“Luna is gone.”
Ginny and Luna both turned to see Neville coming down the stairs from the dormitories.
“What do you mean she’s gone?” Ginny asked, her calm demeanor unable to hide the worry in her voice.
“I talked to Professor Flickwit. He said a group of Death Eaters came in last night and took her away.”
“Death Eaters?” Seamus exclaimed. “What do they want with her? She’s a pure blood.”
“Do you know, Sofia?” Ginny asked, looking very concerned.
“I have no idea. Maybe it had something to do with her father. He’s the editor of the Quibbler, isn’t he? The Quibbler has remained a strong supporter of Harry all along. Maybe they thought by getting to her, they could shut him up.”
“Will they hurt her?” Neville asked.
“I don’t know. She is a pure blood, which may give her some safety. I think as long as she and her father cooperate then she should be okay.”
“But Luna would never cooperate with them,” Ginny said. “She would never give in.”
“She may not have a choice,” Seamus argued. “I mean, if they can get to her, what’s to stop them from getting to any of us? They can walk right in and take a student right out of their bed in the middle of the night. If they threaten any of us, do you think Luna would risk our safety?”
“She wouldn’t turn against us!” Neville snapped. “She knows what we all signed up for. She knows we’re all willing to fight, and die.”
“That doesn’t mean she’ll let us die without doing everything she can to protect us!”
“Stop, all of you,” Sofia said. “Look, we don’t know for sure what they want with Luna or if they want anything with her other than to shut her father up. Until we know more, we can’t afford to start arguing among ourselves about what she may or may not do if she has to make a choice. We know Luna. She’ll make the right decision, no matter what that decision might be.”
“Then what do we do, sit here and wait until they kill her or make her do something?” Ginny asked.
“Just let me handle it. Tomorrow after classes I will find out what I can and I will let you all know. Until then, do what Luna would want you all to do, and keep fighting Snape and the Carrows.”
Sofia walked to Defense Against the Dark Arts, which was now just Dark Arts, with Marcus and Natalie the next afternoon. It was her last class of the day, and what she was to do later that afternoon was weighing heavily on her mind. She wasn’t paying attention to any of the conversation that her cousin and friend were having, until Natalie’s voice called out to her, interrupting her worrying.
“Sofia, have you talked to spoken with Luke lately?”
Sofia shook her head. She had not seen him in a long time, except when she would occasionally catch a glimpse of him across the Great Hall at meals. She didn’t know what she would say to him if she did come across him. Maybe she would just run the other way.
“Andrew says he really misses you. Maybe you should talk to him.”
“If he wanted to talk to me then he would,” Sofia said. “He clearly wants nothing to do with me.”
“I’m sure that’s not true!” Natalie said. “He just doesn’t know what to say.”
“That makes two of us,” Sofia whispered to herself.
They walked into the Dark Arts classroom and sat down in their usual seats. They waited silently for Amycus to come in. When he did, he began his usual dull lecture about his fascination with the Dark Arts.
“The Dark Arts breed life and luxury. It gives you unimaginable powers, the power to master life, and stop death, to conquer armies, and bring peace to the world. It is through Dark Magic that the Dark Lord himself has achieved immortality. He alone shall live forever, and he alone is the granter of life, the king of death.”
There was a bang outside the classroom, and everyone turned towards the back. The door flew open and Peeves flew in. He began chucking things at Amycus, which exploded in splashes of color and smoke when they hit him. He began to scream and run towards the safety of his office, but Peeves flew in to block his way.
“How dare you?” Amycus shrieked.
The smoke that rose from the balls gave off a ghastly odor. Students stood up from their seats and ran towards the door, desperate to escape the suffocating smell. They could hear Amycus shouting after them, and just before Sofia left the room, she turned back just long enough to see him covered in bright, colored liquid and surrounded by heavy smoke.
Sofia stood outside the classroom, catching her breath and laughing with Natalie and Marcus. She smell had escaped slightly into the corridor, and Sofia pulled out her want and waved it away.
“That was amazing,” Marcus said with a laugh. “Peeves would agree to do that?”
“Who put him up to it?” Natalie asked.
“Neville. I’m pretty sure Peeves took care of Alecto a little while ago.”
“Snape will surely expel him from the grounds,” Natalie said sadly.
“He won’t,” Sofia said. “Peeves has been around longer than he was. No matter what Peeves does, he’s as much a part of Hogwarts as McGonagall or Flickwit.”
“I’m not so sure,” Natalie said absentmindedly.
Marcus and Natalie started to walk down the corridors, but Sofia did not follow. When they realized that she was not with them, they stopped and turned around.
“What’s wrong?” Marcus asked.
“Um, I have some things I have to take care of.”
“This doesn’t involve Snape, does it?” Natalie asked accusingly. “Why won’t you give it a rest? He’s a foul, evil git and nothing is going to change that.”
“Actually it does not involve him,” Sofia snapped, tired of everyone’s lack of understanding about why she wanted to speak with Snape. She glared at Natalie, daring her friend to snap back, but Marcus stepped in between the two.
“Go ahead and do what you need to do,” he said warily. “We’ll meet you later.”
He turned around and grabbed Natalie’s arms, pulling her away gently. Sofia turned and walked the other way, hurrying down the corridor. She wound her way past familiar rooms and down staircases until she was walking across the entrance hall. Then she stopped quickly. Luke was walking across in her direction.
She wanted to turn and run away but that would make it too obvious that she was avoiding him. She knew he had seen her, and the only thing she could do was keep her head down and walk as quickly as she could.
She began to make her way across the entrance hall, but hesitated when Luke moved to block her path. She kept walking forward though until he was directly in front of her.
“Hey, Sof,” he said softly.
He looked down at her nervously and then looked away quickly.
“How are you?” He muttered.
“I’m okay,” she replied.
“That’s good,” he said more confidently as he looked back at her. “Look, I just wanted to let you know that I’m sorry for the things I said. I know this has all been really difficult for you. I really miss you though.”
“I miss you too,” she said, not even realizing what she was saying until the words had already left her mouth. She blushed and looked away.
“Would you like to meet me later on tonight and maybe talk for a while?”
Sofia had things she had to take care of away from school first, and she had a feeling that it would take most of the evening.
“I can’t,” she said.
“Oh, okay,” Luke said with a disappointed look. “I understand.”
“How about tomorrow night?” Sofia said quickly.
His face brightened considerably when she said this.
“Well there’s a DA meeting but I’m sure I could see you right after dinner for a little while.”
“Okay great. I’ve got some things I need to do right now but I’ll see you later.”
She hurried, not giving him a chance to say anything else. She was growing more and more anxious with every moment that passed and she wanted to just get everything over with.
She walked outside and transformed, not caring who saw her. She trotted across the bridge, looked around the stone circle for a moment, and then Disapparated. She landed in the cool grass just outside of the gates of Malfoy Manor. She walked right through the gates as though they were not there and then walked along the long path to the door. She knocked lightly and waited.
The door cracked open slightly, and then wider, and Narcissa Malfoy stuck her head out.
“My goodness, child, what are you doing here?” She asked.
“Please,” Sofia said gently. “It is important. May I come in?”
“If it is the Dark Lord you see, he is not here.”
“Do you know where he is?”
Narcissa shook her head but she stepped forwards out of the house and closed the door behind her.
“We cannot speak inside. There are some of them in there right now.
By them, she meant Death Eaters. Sofia knew that even though Narcissa had supported the Dark Lord, she had never given him the same loyalty or had any desire to become one of his closest followers.
She stepped past Sofia and led her back down the path towards the gate. About halfway down she veered off and disappeared into the hedges of the garden. Sofia followed her for another moment before the woman stopped and turned to her.
“You should not be here,” Narcissa said in a worried tone. “He will be most angry if you interfere with anything.”
The woman looked older and more tired than the last time Sofia had seen her. Her eyes were clouded and her skin had become much paler, much like Draco’s a year ago.
“I do not wish to interfere. It’s just that I heard that one of our classmates was taken by Death Eaters.”
“Many people are disappearing. Surely this does not surprise you.”
“But she is a pureblood child!”
Narcissa hesitated and looked around anxiously. She needn’t have worried though. The hedges were so tall that unless someone had followed them from the house, no one could see them.
“Who is she?” The woman asked eventually.
“Luna Lovegood,” Sofia replied.
“You know that the father of this girl has been supporting Harry Potter?”
“Many people support Harry Potter, even those who do not say it. I just want to make sure that she is okay and that no harm comes to her. She should not have to suffer for the things her father has done.”
“You know that is not our choice!” Narcissa snapped. “If it is the will of the Dark Lord then it is final. I have heard she was friends with Potter while he was still at school, even helped him in the incident at the ministry two years ago.”
“I’m friends with Harry! Please, I just have to know that she is alright.”
Narcissa sighed and her shoulders sagged. She looked lost and defeated.
“I will tell you this; she is here, at the house, and she is alright. She put up quite a fight when they came for her.”
“Can you keep her safe?” Sofia asked. “I know that the Dark Lord will not release her, but can you at least make sure she is well cared for?”
The woman thought hard for a moment, and Sofia held her breath. She knew that Narcissa would not do anything that endangered her family.
“Very well,” she said after a moment. “I will do what I can. These past few months have been most testing. I am doing all in my power to hold my family together, but since falling from the Dark Lord’s grace, Lucius has been most inconsolable and Draco has been an utter mess. I have tried to get him to open up to me, but he just shuts me out. He is afraid, so afraid that one day the Dark Lord will dispose of him.”
She choked back a sob, her hands coming to her face. Sofia reached up and embraced the woman, who hugged her tightly before stepping back.
“Take care of my son, Sofia. If there is anyone who can get through to him, it is you. He loves you. Don’t you know? For the longest time I hoped you would see it and love him back. I thought you were perfect for each other.”
“I do love him,” Sofia replied. “But only as a brother. He has been there for me when no one else was, and I can never repay him for that. But as for a romantic relationship, I don’t think either one of us feels that way about each other.”
Narcissa nodded. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. With that simple, smooth gesture, she regained her composure. The defeated, sad woman was replaced by the strong, collected one that had kept her family intact.
“Come, let us go inside. They should be finishing up by now.”
She led Sofia back the way that they had come, heading towards the house with a renewed elegance in her step. She opened the door and Sofia followed her inside.
Sofia could hear voices from the dining room on the right, but she followed Narcissa into the kitchen. There was a scraping of chairs as Sofia heard people in the dining room standing up. The meeting must have been over.
“Stay here,” Narcissa said to Sofia. “I must go see everyone out.”
She left Sofia alone in the kitchen and hurried out to the entrance hall where Death Eaters would be sure socializing after the meeting.
She heard two distinct voices nearing the kitchen door and stepped backwards against the counter. The kitchen door opened and Lucius and Bellatrix stepped into the room. Lucius took one look at Sofia and drew a wand from his robes.
“What are you doing here?” He growled.
Bellatrix stepped in between Lucius and Sofia, her eyes ablaze with a sort of menacing look.
“Calm down now, Lucius. Perhaps this girl is here because she has finally embraced the Dark Lord’s power.”
“Do not play games, Bellatrix. She is the reason for our family being cast from the Dark Lord’s favor. She has no place being in my house.”
“Believe me,” Sofia said fiercely. “I am not here because I want to be.”
“Then why,” Bellatrix said, stepping forward and pulling out her own wand and pointing it at Sofia’s neck, “are you here at all? I do not believe that that Dark Lord would have called you here while he is absent.”
“Calm down now, Bella.”
All three turned to the door as it opened and Voldemort glided into the room silently. He looked towards the wand which Bellatrix was still pointing at Sofia.
“Put your wand away, Bella. There is no need for fighting among those of us who are on the same side.”
“She is not on our side, My Lord,” Bellatrix said. “She serves you because she must, not because she wants to.”
Voldemort raised his hand to silence her. Both she and Lucius threw dark glares at Sofia, but they put their wands away.
“Good,” Voldemort said with a smile. “Now, if you two would please leave us. I must speak with Miss Adema alone.”
Sofia felt heat rising to her face. She should not have come. He knew why she was here. He knew that she had been trying to help Luna. He was going to punish her for coming here without being summoned.
She reached up subconsciously to the ring that was on the chain around her neck. Feeling it’s smoothness between her fingers calmed her. There was no way he would know why she was here unless Narcissa had told him or he had read her mind. Her mind was protected by the blood of her ancestors that was preserved in the ring. While she wore it, he could not touch her mind. While she wore it, she was safe.
“Lucius blames you for what happened at the Ministry two years ago,” the Dark Lord said to her. “He thinks it is your fault that he failed. I shall admit that I too was furious with you at the time. I too thought that you stopped me from getting that prophecy. I realize now though, that Lucius is the one to blame. He is weak. He was never the right man for the job. Though loyal to me, he was a fool, blinded by money and prestige. He allowed Potter and his friends to escape, and for the prophecy to be destroyed.”
He began to pace back and forth across the kitchen, gliding slowly, deep in thought.
“It seems,” he continued. “That he no longer welcomes you in his house. It is such a shame, for if he was wise enough to see his own mistakes, he would realize that it was not your fault.”
Sofia stood still, not knowing if he wanted her to say anything or if he was deep in his own thoughts.
“As you probably know, Harry Potter and I have a deep connection between our minds. However, since that day at the Ministry I have realized the danger of that connection. I can no longer risk using it. His soul is too full of love, and I cannot touch that. Otherwise I would have used it to find his location long ago and he would be dead. As things are, I have another idea of how to find him.”
“How will you do that, My Lord?”
“You shall find him, Miss Adema. You shall use the wolf within you and track him down. You shall not return to Hogwarts until you have done this, do you understand?”
Sofia was speechless. Her heart was pounding as her knees felt weak. He was asking her to hunt down someone she cared about, someone she would rather die for than help. She wanted to resist. She could already feel her mind resisting, but her body was giving in, complying with his demands.
“Very well,” she managed to whisper.
“I do expect it shall take some time,” the Dark Lord said thoughtfully. “If I am right, he is moving constantly, never staying in one place for more than two days. Do not waste time, for the longer this task takes you, the longer you shall be away from your brother.”
At the mention of Daniel, Sofia’s mind halted its resistance. His voice has been threatening, warning that if she delayed too long, he would be in danger.
“Please, My Lord, I will do this for you, just do not hurt Daniel.”
“Complete your task and we shall discuss your brother further.”
He turned away and disappeared out of the door. Sofia waited for a moment before leaving herself. She hurried to the door of the mansion, and came face to face with Narcissa, whose eyes were filled with worry.
“Is everything okay, Sofia? I’m so sorry, I wanted to warn you when he arrived but there wasn’t time. Are you alright?”
Sofia shook her head.
“It’s fine. I have to go.”
She walked past Narcissa and out the door, not once pausing to look back.