When Sofia left the hospital wing, the boy was looking so much better than when she had first arrived. His skin now had color and his breathing was deep and steady.
She made her way directly to the headmaster’s office. These days there was no password for the state that guarded it. One only had to prove a need to speak to the Headmaster.
“I must speak with Professor Snape,” she said to the gargoyle. “It is about safety of the students at this school.”
The statues at Hogwarts were bound to protecting the students inside. Sofia knew this, which is why she had no doubts that the gargoyle would let her pass.
It moved out of her way. Sofia ran past it and stood silently outside the headmaster’s door for a moment. She could hear voices inside. She knocked lightly once and waited.
“Enter,” she heard a deep voice call from inside.
She opened the door and stepped inside, shutting it softly behind her. Snape was sitting behind his desk, looking as expressionless as ever, while Amycus Carrow stood in front of him.
“Miss Adema, you had better have a good reason for being here,” Snape said coldly.
The headmaster’s office was the same as when Dumbledore had
been headmaster, which surprised Sofia. She was sure Snape would have made it dark and dreary. Instead it could have still belonged to Dumbledore, were it not for the portrait of him which sat sleeping against the wall beside the door.
“I need to speak with you,” she said. “It is urgent.”
“Then speak,” Snape growled.
Sofia shot Amycus a dark look.
“Alone,” she said firmly.
Snape studied her for a moment then looked at Amycus.
“We will continue this discussion later,” he said with a firm tone.
Amycus shot Sofia an angry look.
“Very well,” he said.
He turned to leave, pausing beside portrait of Dumbledore.
“It’s a shame this was hung with a Permanent Stick charm,” he said. “It ought to be burned.”
Sofia glared at his back as he left the office, slamming the door shut behind him.
“What is the meaning of this?” Snape demanded.
Sofia rounded on him.
“How could you?” She yelled. “How could you allow these people into your school, into Dumbledore’s
school? How can you sit here locked up in your office all day while they torture your students? Do you care?”
Snape stood up and leaned over his desk towards her.
“In case it escaped your notice, times have changed.”
“Is this the kind of thing you want to be known for? Is this the kind of man you want to be? What would Lily think if she saw you, hiding behind a gargoyle and letting bad things happen under your watch?”
Her remarks clearly caught him off guard, because he stood up straight and collapsed into his chair.
“How dare you speak to me like that?” He challenged, but his voice was weak. “After all I have done.”
“I know what you have done,” Sofia growled. “But it does not excuse what you are doing. You are letting innocent children be hurt. Did you not give Dumbledore your word that you would do all in your power to protect the students of Hogwarts?”
“I have kept my word!” Snape shouted, standing up again.
“Tell that to the first year lying in the hospital wing!”
“We are in a war,” Snape said, slamming his hands down on his desk. “War has casualties. Innocents die. Life is not fair.”
“If you are referring to Lily, she chose for herself. She chose her path. That boy did not. That boy had no choice. But you do, and if this is the choice you make, then you disgrace her memory, and if you will not protect the students of Hogwarts, then I will.”
She turned and stormed from the office, leaving Snape staring after her with a look of horror on his face.
It hit Sofia like bolt of lightning. Suddenly she understood; Harry’s task was to fight Voldemort, Neville’s task was to fight the Death Eaters, her task was to protect the innocent. She had no choice. It was her duty, her purpose, and she would die to fulfill that if she had to. But she had to be sure she was making the right choice. There was someone she needed to speak to, someone who could tell her if she was making the right choices.
She transformed quickly and then Disapparated. When she landed she was standing outside of the old broken down shack that sat in the valley below Hogsmeade. She stepped up to the door and knocked once. The door swung open and she stepped inside, transforming back into her human form. She walked straight to the sitting room, where Origant was sitting across from an empty fireplace.
“What now?” He grumbled as she walked into the room.
“I know what I have to do,” she said.
“Then why are you here to bother me?” He growled.
“Because I need to know what it will mean.”
“It means that your powers will begin to take their definite form. Your father chose to build magical objects, and so he became a powerful creator. You mother wanted to protect people from Dark Magic, and so her powers enabled
her to become a skilled healer and Dark Magic expert. You have chosen to become a protector, and so your powers will allow you to protect. When you touch, you will heal. When you speak, you will protect."
"Will I be able to save the innocents?" Sofia asked.
Origant stared at her gravely for a few moments.
"Not all of them," he said quietly. "You still have limits to your powers. You cannot bring someone back from the dead. People will die. There is not stopping that. It is written in the stars. But you may have to choose who who you save and who you do not."
"What do you mean?" She asked.
He stood up and walked over to the window. He looked out at the dark sky, lost in his thoughts.
"You cannot save everyone," he said absentmindedly. "There will come a time when more people than you can save shall be in danger. You will have to pick which ones you protect."
"Will the others die?" Sofia asked weakly.
The idea of someone dying just because she chose to save someone else made her sick. She wanted to protect everyone.
"They might, they might not. There is no way to know for sure. The people you save may not have ended up dying. The people you do not save may survive. You may not be able to save all who you try to. This is war. Nothing is certain."
Sofia returned to the castle that evening filled with a new sense of purpose and a new sense of fear. She knew her place now, but she was afraid of it. What if she made all the wrong choices? What if she failed to help the people who needed her? What if she wasn't strong enough?
She wandered the corridors for a long time, not caring that curfew was fast approaching. Suddenly she felt eyes watching her and she turned around to see Daniel watching her from the other end of the hallway. He walked up to stand in front of her.
"I didn't see you there," she said hesitantly.
"I was invisible," he said with a shrug. "Ollie, the twins and I decided that we want to take turns patrolling the corridors at night to watch out for anything that doesn't seem right. I volunteered for the first shift."
"That's smart," Sofia noted. "We should all do that. Each group of us could take turns each night. That way we would all get plenty of sleep."
"You know," Daniel said thoughtfully. "If you're going to be wandering around this late, you should probably transform and do it invisibly. The Carrows would love any excuse to torture you more."
"Thanks Danny, I think I'll be alright. Just make sure they don't catch you."
"Catch me? Come on, Sofia. Even as kids, before we could do all this magic, even you could never catch me when I wanted to stay hidden."
It was true. Her little brother had been a master at hiding. He was always disappearing, and though Sofia and her parents would search very inch of the house for him, he was never found until he wanted to be found.
She watched him, as his face became grave.
"Do you think he's alright?" He asked suddenly.
Daniel had never spoken much about the boy. He had never seemed overly interested, as they were in different Houses and had never even met.
"I think so," Sofia said. "I mean, if the Dark Lord had killed him, we would all know."
"But just because he's alive doesn't mean he's okay. I mean, what if he's locked up somewhere, or injured or sick? Do we know for sure he's even still trying to fight, or has he just fled the country to save himself?"
"He wouldn't," Sofia said firmly. "He has too much to lose. He has too much left to fight for."
"Then why isn't he fighting?"
"It is not time yet. Listen, Voldemort is not yet mortal. Harry must make him mortal before he fights him. Otherwise there is no hope."
"How is he making him mortal?"
"I'm not quite sure. All I know is that it is taking time, which is why we must be patient and protect the innocents. The role of Hogwarts in this war is not yet over, of that I am sure. Harry will come back for us, for all of us. It will just take time."
Daniel still looked worried, his eyes downcast and heavy.
"What is bothering you?" Sofia asked.
"It's just...I can't help feeling that something really really bad is coming. I mean, I know we're in the middle of a war, but it's like the worst of it is just waiting to come out. I can't help but feeling that maybe Mother and Father made a mistake sending us here, that maybe we should have stayed safe at home. I mean, all of the other students are thinking the same thing. Why would parents deliberately send their children into the middle of a war if they had another choice?"
"They wanted us to stay together," Sofia replied.
"But we could have stayed together at home, in Denmark."
"Do you wish to go home?" Sofia asked her brother. "I am sure that if you did, Mother and Father would let you."
"No!" He replied quickly. "But...I just don't understand why."
"I don't quite understand myself," Sofia admitted. "I had to come, to find myself. I think they knew that. This was the only place where I could truly accept my duties."
Daniel suddenly reached out and wrapped his arms around her. He was at least three inches taller than her now, so she could rest her head against his chest.
"I love you, Sof," he whispered. "You've always done everything in your power to protect me. You've kept me away from the burdens you have had to carry, and you are the best sister in the world. Just know that you don't have to protect me anymore. I'm not the little eleven year old boy who had nightmares about his tattoo."
"No, you have grown a few inches since then," Sofia said lightly as she pulled out of his hug, making Daniel smirk. "But you'll always be my little brother, and I will always do everything in my power to protect you. I love our cousins, but you come first. When all is said and done, it's just you and me. I promise that as long as I still breathe, I won't let anything happen to you. I love you."
When Sofia finally went up to the common room, her eyelids were heavy and her mind was fuzzy. She was exhausted and wanted nothing other than to curl up in her bed and fall asleep.
Neville was alone in the common room, sitting by the fire. He looked up as she entered, and his have was excited.
"There you are!" He exclaimed. "I've been waiting for you. There's a DA meeting tomorrow. Can you make it?"
Sofia had forgotten about her pledge to the DA. She had to tell Neville that she could no longer be a part of it. It was his path, not hers.
"I can't," she said sadly. "Look, Neville, the DA is about fighting, about standing up to Voldemort and to the Carrows. But while you are off fighting, there are other innocents who you leave behind, completely exposed. I have to protect them."
"What are you talking about?" He asked.
"There was a boy who nearly died because of the Carrows. I saved him, I think. That is what I have to do. I have to protect and heal, not fight."
Neville nodded, his eyes gentle.
"I understand. Does that mean you'll be able to patch us up if we need it?"
"Of course," Sofia said with a smile.
Daniel had another two hours of his watch before he handed it off to Lauren. He was growing tired, and his wings hurt. He was not used to flying this much, yet he flew on invisibly, circling almost every inch of the castle in case trouble stirred. He passed Alecto three times, but the Death Eater never knew he was there.
Daniel loved to fly, to feel the wind beneath his wings, to watch everything grow smaller below him. It was like all of the troubles of the world were shrinking away. He could dive, climb, soar, and glide, and nothing could stop him.
With an hour left of his watch, Daniel was flying near the gargoyle that guarded the headmaster's office when something below caught his sharp eagle eyes. There was a boy sneaking around below.
Daniel dove down and landed on the gargoyle. He looked down at the boy from above. He was a sixth year Gryffindor that Daniel recognized from the DA meetings. What was his name? Collin. Yes, it was Collin.
The boy was taking something out of his robes. He placed it in front of the gargoyle. He was standing in such a way that even Daniel's sharp eyes could not see what he was putting down. Then the boy stood up again straight and hurried down the corridor.
Daniel took off after him, wanting to make sure the boy got back to his common room safely. But they boy was clearly not the brightest. He took the path through the Grand Staircase, which would out him out in the open. Alecto was sure to be coming back this way soon.
Sure enough, as the boy rounded the corner towards the Grand Staircase, the Carrow was turning the corner towards the second floor corridor.
Collin yelped with surprise and took off up the stairs.
"Come back here!" Alecto shrieked.
She pulled her wand out and aimed it at Collin. Daniel was quicker though. He lunged at her face, his talons reaching for her skin. He felt the tearing of flesh as they met their mark, and Alecto let out a scream of pain and terror. In her mind, some invisible force had just cut her face.
Daniel stayed by her head, as Alecto began to flail helplessly and cast wild spells with her wand. Daniel was able to dodge her easily and dove once more at her face, landing his talons just below her left eye.
Then he rose up and circled over her for a moment. Collin had disappeared.
Alecto must have realized her attacker had stopped his pursuit, because she stopped swinging her arms but kept her wand raised.
"Where are you, you little rat?" She cried. "I'm going to kill you! Mark my words, you'll beg for death when I get my hands on you."
Too bad, Daniel thought. She would never catch him, and he was fairly certain she had not gotten a good look at Collin's face. He soared off, making sure to stay well away from the second floor for the next hour of his watch.