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Chapter 6: The Window Down The Corridor
The week went by slowly, mostly because of the “Snape and me bonding time.” Hermione and I had hardly said anything to each other since that time she told me off.
“You don't want to go in there.” Fred said, looking irritated as we reached the doors to the Great Hall.
Curiosity got the better of Ron, Harry and I so we walked through the doors almost to find ourselves immediately popping back out.
George and his new 'girlfriend' were making out very passionately and heatedly at the Gryffindor table. The people on the other side of them seemed to be very engrossed in what George and 'Girlfriend' were doing, that they missed their spoons.
We walked outside, towards Hagrid's hut, Ron and Harry watching me cautiously.
“What?” I grunted, slightly becoming bothered by their concern. Neither of them said a word. “Guys,” I sighed, exasperated, “guys, just talk to me. This whole act's become maddening.”
I desperately needed some help right now, especially since now Hermione has deserted me – well, it seems like it.
Harry and Ron exchanged glances.
“Well, Sofie...” Harry looked as though he was trying hard to find the right words. “George isn't the only one that's changed.” He paused hesitantly.
“You're saying I've changed as well?” I stopped walking and sat down on the green grass, against one of Hagrid's giant pumpkins.
“Yeah. Ever since Malfoy.”
I didn't answer. I didn't know what to say.
“Don't you see Sofie?!” Harry snapped suddenly that I jumped out of fright.
“What were you doing when he kissed you?”
“I- I...” I paused, trying to remember what I was doing. Then it hit me. “I was leaning in to look at his left arm.” I said slowly, now seeing what Harry was trying to say.
“What was on his left arm?” Harry looked into my eyes fiercely.
“I- I don't know. I didn't see.” I felt a huge feeling of stupidity crush my stomach.
“What did you think was on his left arm?”
Ron's head shot back from Harry to me, looking very confused.
“The Dark Mark.” I whispered, more to myself than anyone. I averted making eye-contact with both of them – Harry especially.
“I don't get it.” Ron mumbled, still trying to work it out. No one answered him. Harry was still looking very intensely at me.
“He's using you.” He said, with a bit more sympathy.
A bit more silence.
“I'll... I'll see you guys later.” I still avoided their eyes, sure that Harry would explain it to Ron now that I was gone.
I walked back inside the castle, looking down at my feet.
“Oh, hi Neville.” I said as I almost bumped into Neville as he walked hurriedly past me, towards the Great Hall.
“Oh, Hello.” he squeaked. There was an awkward silence. “It was cool what you did in Potions... Last week.”
“Oh,” I forced a small chuckle, “lost us fifty points though.”
“It was worth it.” I smiled at him gratefully, then left to find myself a quiet and peaceful place to collect myself.
By the time I found the perfect spot, it was almost nightfall. Surely Ron, Harry and Hermione would be sitting by the fire, talking about me and my little relationship with Malfoy. I found myself, once again, standing around the window down the corridor.
I embraced the sweet breeze immediately and decided to sit on the window sill. I sat on the ledge, head rested against the stone wall. I gazed dreamily out into the lake which looked slightly less appealing from this height.
If only I had a book, I thought to myself, still gazing out into the grounds of Hogwarts. I seriously thought about what Harry had said. “He's using you.” I didn't want to believe it, but inside, I thought, maybe that's probably the most sensible answer.
“Rivers.” said a languid voice behind me.
This time, I didn't even have to turn around.
“Malfoy.” I replied, still looking out into the lake.
“Hey, listen -”
“You're using me aren't you?” I asked tiredly. I turned my head to look at him. His arms hung outside the window, while his wounded face looked up at me.
“What makes you say that, Rivers?” he questioned softly.
“Draco, give me your arm.”
He hesitated. We maintained eye-contact for a minute or two, until finally he lifted his arm and dropped his gaze so that he was looking at his shoes.
I pulled his long, white sleeve back to reveal an ugly, black, dark mark.
“You're one of them.” I half sobbed, feeling a tremendous lump of disappointment welling in the pit of my chest. He didn't say anything.
“He forced me.” He'd looked back out, his right index finger tracing the black mark.
“Vo-Voldemort?” I asked, looking at the Dark Mark with a mixture of disgust and fear.
He shuddered.“No.” My eyes snapped to his face and I realised, he'd started to cry. “My dad.”
My eyes widened as he hiccuped. “Your dad?” I croaked.
His eyes reddening around the edges, lines of red stretched to his silver iris. Again, I began to wonder if Draco knew that his dad had been the one to have killed my parents. I wondered if he knew that his father had once set out to kill me and is most likely still out to get me.
As though he had read my mind, he mumbled: “I know...” he took a gulp, “I know about my father... and your parents.” He reached for my hand and gripped it tight. His grey eyes gazed deep into my blue ones.
“No, Sofie, I'm not using you.” My hands trembled in his. Tears welling in my eyes. Eventually, they began to drip onto our hands. Draco squeezed my hand.
He embraced me, firmly but softly. “I'm sorry.”
I wept. Wept into his chest while he rubbed my back gently, tears rolling down his pointed cheeks also.
He let go of me slowly, still holding on to my hands. His eyes were now dry but the red lines remained. I released my right hand out of Draco's and rubbed my puffy eyes with the back of it, sniffing a couple of times.
“Draco...” I breathed, “What does... What does Voldemort want you to do?” A hint of fear glistened in my eyes.
“Nothing.” he said quickly, “He just wants me to do whatever my dad wants me to.”
“What does your dad want you to do?” I looked at him with unease.
He looked startled. “Shit, Sofie, I shouldn't have said that. I mean -” I raised an eyebrow at him. “I meant that...” Giving up with a sigh, he told me. “He just wants me to spy on the place. Nothing to do with you... or your past.”
I looked at him carefully, looking for a hint of lie. When there was none, I exhaled heavily, putting my head back on the wall, closing my eyes to the now illuminating moon.
I opened my eyes again. Draco held his other hand out to help me down from the window sill. I gripped it tight and jumped down.
“Do you want me to walk you to your common room?” Me, knowing well that his common room was completely in a different direction said no.
He held my hand, walking by my side until the staircases – where he gave me a quick peck on the lips and left to go downstairs while I went upstairs.
“Where were you?” demanded Hermione as soon as I walked into my dorm. She was sitting cross legged on her bed, already in her pyjamas. I looked at the clock and gasped as it said 12.08.
“I was... out.” I mumbled as I got changed into my pyjamas.
She tutted and pursed her lips.
“What?” I said stiffly, not at all enjoying the attitude Hermione was showing towards me.
She merely raised an eyebrow and got under her sheets.
“Hermione, talk to me.” I pleaded, crawling towards her bed as she rolled onto her side, facing away from me. “Hermione, I'm old enough to do what I want. I'm not stupid.”
She rolled back towards me, “Sofie! He's a death eater! Your parents' murderers! How can I think that you're not stupid?!” I looked at her with wounded eyes.
“You don't know him.” I said softly, quietly.
“And you think you do?!” she shot back.
“Yes...” I recoiled slightly.
“After six years, Sofie, six! You didn't even talk to him and now you're best pals with him?” Hermione gave me a look of pure disgust. I sat on the floor as a lump, watching Hermione with bitter disappointment as she turned away from me again.
I got into my own bed, pulling the sheets up. “You don't understand him Hermione.” I said coldly. Hermione snorted loudly.
When I woke up, Hermione had already left for breakfast leaving me alone to brood over this whole fiasco. When I came down from my dorm into the common room, George and his girlfriend were laying together in the sofa again, her laying in George's chest. As I walked past the sofa, George eyed me carefully.
“Hey, Gabriella, I love you.” he said, still eyeing me. 'Gabriella' didn't seem to notice, she turned back to George.
“I love you too George.” she rubbed his chest fondly and moved up and kissed him on the lips. George returned the kiss and pressed hard against her, making the kiss a much more fiery and steamy one. I shook my head at him and left.
I walked down to the Great Hall by myself, where I spotted Harry, Ron and Hermione, heads together in the middle of the table. Talking in what seems like furious whipsers.
“Honestly Ron!” I heard Hermione say out loud. She looked in my direction, her eyes widened slightly and then lowered her head again, talking even faster.
One by one, Ron and Harry turned to look at me. Feeling betrayed and dismayed, I turned back, not feeling an appetite for breakfast.
I walked out, towards the lake and the place where Draco and I had first... kissed. I found a nice tree and leaned against it, watching the other students walking by. A whole bunch of third year girls were giggling within their group. I missed those days.
“Hi, Sofie.” a girl with a dreamy voice said.
I turned and met with Luna who had sat down on the log next to me.
“Hey, Luna.” I said, unenthusiastically.
“It doesn't look like you want to talk,” her voice misty and lost, “But Harry told me to give this to you.” I looked at the white envelope bearing the writing 'Sofie Rivers' on it.
“Harry told you to give this to me?”
“Why didn't he just give it to me?” I asked, feeling abandoned once again.
“I'm not sure.” Luna said, getting up to leave.
“Oh... okay, thanks Luna.”
I held the envelope in my hand. I stared at the small, messy writing on the front and knew it was from Sirius.
“Finally.” I muttered to myself, opening the letter in a hurry.
I can't say where I am right now, but I'm sure you're visiting for the Christmas holidays. Which is soon. How many detentions has Snape given you already? He hates you more than he hates Harry! He's never given Harry a whole weeks detention. - I giggled out loud at this, he's especially proud of all the people Snape hates – Anyway, how was the Ball? Wait, you're going out with George?! Arthur and Molly are extremely ecstatic! Well, he's changed? Talk to him about it. That's all apart of a relationship Soph. Working things out.
Ha, you wear dresses now? Well, that's something I have to see.
Yeah, there is going to be a Christmas Party.
I'll explain everything later, when I see you.
All my love, Padfoot.
I smiled while I folded the letter back into the envelope, the day seeming to have gotten slightly brighter. I placed the envelope into my jacket pocket and skipped back towards the common room. Barely anyone was there, apart from George and Gabrielle – still laying on the couch - so I decided to sit in the corner where there was a table. As soon as I got all my stuff out, Harry, Ron and Hermione had walked in.
“She hasn't even known him for six years and now she's going out with him?” Ron and Harry went rigid while Hermione continued on her rant. “Honestly, how can she trust him? After what his family's done to her.”
“Would've liked it more if you talked to me, not about me.” I said with extreme coldness. Her head snapped towards my direction.
“Honestly, Hermione. If you don't want to talk to me, then don't talk about me!” I shouted. George and Gabrielle broke their kiss and stared at us.
“Sofie, we're your friends. We -” said Harry.
“Don't you talk to me about friends Harry! Seriously, God, you people think you're still my friends after this? You guys have been avoiding me all week and you guys just think that you have my best interests in heart?!” I began panting and tears of anger welled up in my eyes.
George and Gabrielle broke apart, and stood up.
“You're choosing some... prick over us Sofie!” Ron said in a voice not as angry as Hermione's, but stern.
“I'm not choosing anyone over someone else!” I screamed again. “Why can't you guys trust me in the choices I make!”
The trio looked down, ashamed. Hermione burst into tears and ran back out the common room. Followed by Ron and Harry, who had looked back at me with welling regret.
In my anger, I grunted “What?” at George and Gabrielle – who both bore perplexed faces - and left all my things on the table and stormed into my dorm. I stared out the window, watching the Slytherins' Quidditch practise. I watched as three quaffles went through the hoops.
By the time it was nightfall, the figures had disappeared, leaving the pitch with a quiet and eery view. Sighing, I decided to take another walk. I wrapped my Gryffindor scarf around my neck tightly then left. I walked down to the Great Hall for dinner. I sat by myself, not really eating but slowly playing with my food. I twisted a strand of spaghetti using my fork, watching as it twisted slowly. Eventually, I gave up on my food and went back to the common room.
“Rivers.” a certain voice asserted me as I walked through the door.
“George?” I stared at him uncertainly, wondering what he was doing talking to me.
“What was all that about... before?”
Without looking back, I mumbled, “Nothing.”
Back at the common room, I slammed my trunk closed as it was the last night before the Christmas holidays. I took out a picture of my parents and fondled it carefully. I watched them as they danced around in the snow. They looked so happy. I smiled thinly to myself and then laid down on my bed. Caressing the picture gently, my eyes started to close slowly... the picture of my parents became a sepia blur... their smiling faces stuck in my memory... I fell asleep.
All of a sudden there was a loud bang on the window. My eyes snapped open and I watched as an owl fluttered outside my window. I looked to Hermione's bed. There was a figure inhaling and exhaling steadily. I sighed in relief and opened the window to let the owl in. It rose its right leg, which had a piece of parchment attached to it.
Sofie, normal place? Now? Please?
I re-read the note a couple of times, trying to understand why Draco would want to see me. Unsure of myself, I checked the time and decided to get up. I stayed in my pyjamas but put on a thick jumper.
I walked slowly and quietly towards the window. Carefully watching out for Mrs. Norris. When I reached the window, Draco was already there. His head silhouetted by the moon. I walked up next to him, putting my head out of the window as well.
“Thanks for coming.” he finally said, after a moment of silence.
I chuckled quietly, “You would've done the same for me.”
“Yeah.” I heard Draco say, though his voice was extremely quiet.
“So why did you call me up here?” I asked, staring out into the swaying trees of the Forbidden Forest.
“Sofie, I'm going to miss you.” he said quietly. I laid my head on his shoulder, “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” I smiled at him, appreciating him.
“Sofie,” he whispered, my stomach was filled with fluttering butterflies. “These are dangerous times, I don't want you to get hurt over the holidays.”
I lifted my head and looked at him, perplexed. “What do you mean?”
He looked as though he was choosing his words carefully. “Sofie, they know about the Order of the Phoenix.”
I eyes widened and my jaw fell slightly. “Wh- what? How?”
“That doesn't matter.” he said quickly, “You're all in danger. They know who's in it and everything.” I understood why he was telling me this. “You're in danger.”
My eyes landed on his, which were looking out into the moonlight. I didn't say anything.
“I'll visit you in the holidays?” he asked, smiling at me with what seemed to have been forced.
“That'll be nice.” I smiled back, “Just make sure the others don't see.”
“Oh yeah, I've heard that... you're not talking to the others?” He pulled my head gently back down towards his shoulder.
I sighed into his shoulder, “Yeah, well, if they can't accept my choices... That's their problem.” I ended lamely.
“They shouldn't have found out.” he muttered.
“They deserve to know.” I mumbled into his shoulder. He wrapped his arm around my waist, providing me with warmth beyond any measure.
“Sofie,” he murmured, breaking the silence. “If you hear anything over the holidays, please, please don't hate me.” I lifted my head again, surprised at what he'd just said. I realised that he sounded as though he was about to cry.
“Why would I hate you?”
“The Dark Lord...” he whimpered, “He... He told me, I had to...” he coughed quietly, “He told me I had to kill someone.” It took my brain a while to take in what he had just said.
He coughed again, “I- I don't know. Someone.” He shifted uncomfortably, but not releasing his hand from my waist. “I don't want to.” His voice was so quiet and soft, it didn't seem like him at all.
I couldn't say anything. Instead, I wrapped my arms around his chest and hugged him tight, standing on my toes to rest my chin on his shoulder as he rubbed his hand against me. I closed my eyes against his shoulder, enjoying the moment.
I went off into a light slumber and awoke when Draco softly tapped my head with his finger.
“We should go back.” he said, holding me into a hug.
“Yeah,” I murmured sleepily. He lifted my chin and planted a sweet kiss on my lips, then smiled.
“I'll see you soon.” he said as he draped his over my shoulder and walked back to the staircases. I smiled back at him and went back to my dorm, knowing full well that I wouldn't be able to sleep again.