The end of summer was approaching fast. The Adema children were enjoying the last few days of warm freedom by playing a game of Quidditch. They played five against five with no beaters or bludgers. They played girls versus boys, with Arabella joining in her older siblings to make the teams even. Sofia and Ollie played seeker, while James and Lillian played keeper. The girls won by a landslide, and at the end of the game the children walked back inside utterly exhausted.
"Hey Sof," Marcus said. "How come you never tried out for the team at Hogwarts?"
"I just never really thought about it," she replied.
"We should try out this year," he said. "You'd be a good seeker for the team."
Marcus followed Sofia up to her bedroom. Sofia leaned her Firebolt against the wall beside her bed.
"Harry Potter is captain and seeker."
She sat down on her bed and began to comb through her long hair with her fingers. Marcus sat down beside her.
"Come on, you don't really think he's going back to Hogwarts, do you? I mean, with Dumbledore gone, it's too dangerous for him."
He was right and Sofia knew it. There was nothing left at Hogwarts for the young man.
"I'll think about it," she said. "But only if you do too."
"I'll do it even if you don't. So will James. I've already heard him talking about trying out for Keeper. Daniel, Ollie, and the twins are trying out too."
"Are the girls?" Sofia asked.
"Nah, you know them. They have to keep a proper elegant face on for the public."
They both laughed. Evanna and Lilliana loved to make people think they were well behaved angels, but as soon as backs were turned the two would be knee deep in trouble.
"Can I talk to you guys?"
Sofia looked towards her door as her father stepped in. His eyes were dark and shadowed, and it looked as though he had not slept in a while.
"Of course," she said quickly.
Her father walked towards them and sat down next to Marcus on the bed. He looked grave, and it made Sofia nervous.
"Listen, Rufus Scrimgeour is dead. Voldemort has taken over the Ministry of Magic."
Sofia saw Marcus's mouth drop open in shock. She too felt her heart began to beat faster.
"You all should know," her father continued, "that this will mean a lot of changes in the world. We can expect that Voldemort will persecute muggle-borns to try and purify wizards."
"Will he kill them all?" Sofia asked.
"I don't think so, not all of them. But he will make them wish they were dead. This also means that there will be big changes at Hogwarts. Severus Snape is to be named Headmaster."
"What?" Sofia gasped.
She had not forgotten her conversation with Snape at the end of the previous school year. He had showed her his hand, told her that his true loyalties lie in the ground with Lily Potter.
"Voldemort told me himself. He intends to implement a law that all children in Great Britain must attend school. I also have heard that the Carrows will be appointed as teachers."
"Teachers of what?" Sofia snapped. "How to kill muggle-borns?"
"That will be for Severus to decide. I do not want you all to worry though. You will be fine."
Trunks were packed, and children waited in the parlor to go off to Hogwarts. Carston looked over all of them one last time.
"Listen, all of you. You must stay safe. Keep each other safe. Watch out for each other. You have to stick together, no matter what."
The children nodded, overcome with feelings of anticipation.
A few hours later Sofia sat on the train with some of her cousins. Though they had all wanted to sit together, all nine of them would not fit comfortably in one compartment. Daniel had taken Ollie to meet some of his old friends. James had taken Lillian and Evanna in the compartment next door, leaving Sofia with Marcus and the twins.
"I can't believe we're really going," Lauren said a little nervously. "I mean, we're really doing this, aren't we?"
"Doing what?" Marcus asked. "Going to school?"
"Not that! Going right into the Dark Lord's path."
"I suppose so. But honestly, he has no reason to do anything to us. As long as Sof behaves herself."
He laughed and nudged Sofia's arm playfully. She shoved him in response, and he nearly fell out of his seat.
The other three laughed. The compartment door slid open and they stopped.
"Sofia," Luke said as he stepped in. "Can we talk?"
Sofia nodded and stood up, the smile still plastered on her face. She stepped over Marcus and followed Luke into the corridor. Luke slid the door shut behind her and pulled her into a hug.
"I missed you," he said.
"We saw each other a few weeks ago," Sofia said.
Luke pushed her gently up against the wall and lifted her chin. He bent down and kissed her gently.
"It feels like ages though," he said.
She stood up in her toes and kissed him back.
"You could have visited again," she said.
"I got the feeling your father wasn't too pleased to at my stay."
"But he likes you."
"Just because he likes me as a person doesn't mean he likes me dating his daughter."
"True," Sofia said. "Are you worried about Hogwarts this year?"
Luke looked away for a moment and took a step back. He suddenly looked much more serious.
"I'm...uneasy. My parents have said they will not take sides in the war so that I will not be a target. At the same time, I want to fight. You-Know-Who can't be allowed to win. Hogwarts was always the one place he could not touch. I think we should try and keep it that way."
"What did you have in mind?" Sofia asked.
Luke looked around the corridor, which was empty except for them.
"I heard whispers from Neville, Luna and Ginny about restarting the DA."
The DA had been successful at training students before when Umbridge was in power at Hogwarts two years ago. Perhaps this time it would become an even more proactive group.
“I’ll join if they do.”
“No!” Sofia shouted. “You can’t! If you get caught, you’ll be in danger. Your family will be in danger. Do you think he won’t hesitate to hurt them to keep order?”
“Sof, I’ve thought long and hard about this. My parents are too afraid to fight him, but I’m not. If Ginny, Neville and Luna stand up to him, others will follow. Besides,” he added. “It’s Snape we’ll be standing up to, not You-Know-Who himself. That git doesn’t scare me.”
“You don’t get it, Luke. It’s not Snape you have to worry about. It’s the Carrows. They’re new teachers and they’re Death Eaters. You can be sure that they will be reporting everything to Voldemort, especially names of anyone who may be causing trouble or trying to stir up rebellion at Hogwarts.”
“Are you afraid of them?” Luke demanded.
“Afraid?” Sofia asked incredulously. “I have two brothers to protect! I have my cousins to watch out for now! I can’t afford to be afraid, nor can I afford to spend my time making trouble for Voldemort’s followers.”
Luke looked frustrated, even angry.
“Is that it? Are you just going to give up and let him win?”
“I don’t have a choice! What power do I have to stand up against him? Yeah, I could make trouble for his followers. I could even kill them if I wanted. But what good would that do me? I cannot touch him. I cannot fight him.”
Luke turned away from her, and she could hear the fury in his voice when he spoke again.
“Fine. If that’s how it has to be for you, fine.”
He walked away quickly, leaving Sofia alone in the corridor. She knew what this meant. She knew that if Luke was going to make trouble this year, there was no way she could see him. It would put her family in too much danger, and no matter how much she cared to him, her family would always come first. It was heartbreakingly bitter for her to accept, but she knew that it had to be like this.