Chapter 9 : An ally
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“We were getting worried when you didn’t come back and it got late, so I asked Harry for this map, which shows the entire castle and everyone in it. I was looking for you… ”
“And you saw me with Malfoy.” Sofia said with a sinking feeling.
“Yes, and Sofia, what were you doing with him? I don’t understand!”
Sofia took a deep breath. “How tired are you Hermione?”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Do you want me to explain everything?” When Hermione nodded, she went on “Ok, this is going to be a long story, and you are the first person ever to hear it. Ok, so, it all started when Malfoy and I were five years old…”
Later, when Sofia was finally done telling her story, she waited for Hermione to say something. She had been quiet ever since Sofia began speaking and her expression was hard to read.
“This seems almost too surreal to actually believe in it. That’s definitely a different Malfoy than the one I’ve known for almost six years now… can I see your pendant?”
Sofia pulled her necklace out and handed it to Hermione.
“It is beautiful! As much as I hate to admit it, Malfoy does have good taste” She handed the necklace back to Sofia.
“I am really sorry I didn’t tell you any of this before, but neither Draco or I have ever told anyone about. We always believed it would be better to keep it to ourselves. Please know that what we have won’t affect my friendship with you and the boys.”
“You don’t have to apologize, I understand”
“You are not going to tell anyone, especially the boys right Mione? Please!”
“No, of course not. This stays between us, that’s what friends are for” Sofia smiled at Hermione, truly grateful for their friendship. “You can come and talk to me about this from now on if you would like. I can only imagine how hard it must have been hiding it from everyone. But I hope you do realize how lucky you are that I was the one who saw you two together. I’m not sure the boys would have been so understanding. Harry maybe, but Ron, I doubt it.”
“Mione, I cannot thank you enough! And yes, I am grateful it was you and not them. Now I need to figure out how to keep me and Malfoy from showing in the map, or we could be in big trouble.”
“So, you are going to see him again?”
“Yes, I have decided to give him another chance, even if he doesn’t quite deserve it.”
“There is a lot of history between the two of you, so I guess it makes sense. Nevertheless, be careful Sofia, he is a Malfoy after all and if he chose the dark side over you once, it might happen again. I hate to be so blunt about it, but you are my friend and I am a little worried”
“It’s ok, I understand. I think about that all the time, but still can’t get myself to turn him down. Whew, what a night! I’m going to bed, are you coming?”
Hermione nodded and followed Sofia to their room.
It was the following Saturday and the Great Hall was busy with students saying their goodbyes and heading outside to catch a chariot to the train station. Sofia, Ginny and the trio spent most of their trip back to London eating sweets from the trolley and playing games. As they made it to Platform 9 ¾, Sofia introduced her parents to the Granger’s and Weasley’s. While everyone else was talking Hermione pulled Sofia to the side.
“Don’t forget to send me an owl after the Christmas Party! I can’t wait to hear what happens between you and black petal guy”
Sofia laughed, as she always did, when Hermione called Draco like that. It was their way of talking about him without using his actual name, and it had been Hermione’s idea. Once she had accepted the idea that Malfoy could be nice, she was really excited about Sofia and him.
“Happy Christmas Sofia”
“Happy Christmas Mione”
After everyone had said their goodbyes, Sofia and her parents apparated back to their house.
Sofia unpacked and headed back downstairs to her father’s library. He was sitting with her mom, drinking tea by the window and she joined them. They spent the next few hours going over her life at Hogwarts and the upcoming competition. They ate dinner in the kitchen, and afterwards Sofia’s father sat by the fireplace to read while Sofia showed her mother her new dresses.
It was past midnight when she finally went to bed. She was lying comfortably under the covers when she heard an owl hit her window with its claws and she sat up, her heart beating fast. The only times an owl had visited her in her room late at night, had been when Malfoy had wanted her to come out and meet him, which had happened several times before. She opened the window and watched as the owl flew over her bed, dropped a letter and flew away. As she approached her bed, she realized she had been right; it was an envelope from Malfoy.
Ten minutes later, Sofia apparated in the woods by her house in the familiar spot she had apparated in so many times before. That had been their meeting place for years, just outside the magical protection of her home, yet close enough that the younger Sofia didn’t feel so bad to be out without her parents knowledge.
Draco was already there, waiting for her with blankets, pillows and hot chocolate. It was just like the old times, two best friends enjoying each other’s company and the night that surrounded them.
“I can’t believe we are actually here. I never thought we would speak again and I was certain we would never share a moment like this once more” Sofia said.
“I didn’t either. I never planned on speaking to you again after we said our goodbyes”.
“Said our goodbyes? Is that what you think happened?”
“No, I know it wasn’t… I understand I can never take back what I did and said, but I will make it up to you”
“And how exactly do you plan on making it up to me?”
They were lying side by side, staring at the sky, so Sofia couldn’t see Draco’s face as he grinned.
“I haven’t figured it out, but I am doing my best to”
They fell silent after that, happy to enjoy each other’s company. To a lot of people, silence was uncomfortable, to them, it was just the opposite. As Sofia yawned for the fourth time in a row, Draco helped her get up and ready to leave.
“Will I see you tomorrow at the Ministry’s party?” he asked, as they folded the blankets with a wave of their wands.
“Yes. We haven’t attended one since we moved to France, so we won’t miss tomorrow’s. Will be just like the old times with our parents pretending to be nice, the Minister oblivious to their hatred and the two of us keeping our distance until we get a chance to sneak away for a while…” She said, looking past Draco and clearly lost in her memories. “Good times” she finally said, focusing her eyes on his. She laughed and Draco wished she would never stop.
“Night Malfoy, see you tomorrow”
They apparated at the same time, and both went to bed feeling happier than they had in a while.
It was eleven in the morning when their house elf came in to wake Sofia up. She showered and went downstairs to meet her parents for lunch. The living room was spacious, with big windows going from the celling to the floor, facing her mother’s garden. In the spring and summer time, her mother planted so many flowers of so many different colors that one almost felt as if staring at a multicolored ocean when looking out of the window. Today however, the grounds where white with fresh snow that had fallen over night.
“There you are! Glad you finally woke up sweetie. I had no idea you were so tired”
“Mia actually woke me up mum. I had no idea either, but it felt so good sleeping this late”.
Sofia hated lying to her parents, and could only imagine how mad they would get if they found out where, and most importantly with whom, she had been out last night.
“Are they keeping you that busy at Hogwarts?” Her dad asked, with a mocking tone.
“Yes, dad” She said smiling.
It was true, between classes and Potion training she really was busy, he just didn’t need to know a certain Malfoy was adding up to that. Mia came in bringing their food and they talked about non important things while eating lunch. When they were done, Sofia and her mom went to a spa in downtown London for a relaxing afternoon. Even though they were pure blooded, Sofia and her family had no problems visiting the Muggle world and interacting with the people there. Sofia particularly enjoyed the mother-daughter activities she shared with her mom, such as the spa.
When they got back home, Sofia went to her room to get ready for the Christmas party. As she faced herself in the mirror, thirty minutes later, she was very pleased with the final result. Her hair was down, curled just at the end, and her bangs were pulled to the left side with an elegant pendant. Her makeup was simple, but highlighted her green eyes. Her deep purple dress was tight around her upper body, with an intricate silver pattern over its tick straps. Right below her chest, the same intricate pattern encircled her, accentuating her figure and the rest of the dress fell loosely around her. She never really cared about dressing to impress but tonight was different, she wanted to look stunning for Draco.
She met her parents by the front door, and together they apparated to the Ministry of Magic. The Christmas party was held at the atrium and small round tables had been scattered around with the main table, where the Minister sits with his family and close friends, located by the fountain. Apart from the Minister’s table, the sits were not assigned. The atrium was beautifully decorated, and the room was already filled with the sound of people talking and laughing, as well as the delicious smell from the appetizers floating around in trays.
Sofia and her parents made their way to the Minister, stopping to say hello to a few friends on the way. It was Sofia’s first time back in the Ministry in years and she enjoyed seeing some of her old friends, and her parent’s old coworkers. As they approached Mr. Fudge, Sofia’s stomach turned upside down as she realized he was talking to Lucius Malfoy. Standing next to him was his wife, Narcissa, and standing between his parents was Draco. Sofia still couldn’t believe Lucius had managed to escape the Ministry before the aurors came that previous spring. Only members of the Oder of the Phoenix and their allies knew Lucius was still working for Voldemort, the Minister remained oblivious.
“Caleb, Olivia, Sofia! You made it. Welcome, welcome!” He shook each of their hands. “It it’s good to have you here. Are you enjoying Hogwarts Ms. Sofia?”
“Yes sir, I am”
“Good, good. I was told you and young Mr. Malfoy here are competing together next month?” Sofia shook her head affirmatively. “Wonderful. We have been working hard to put this new tournament together and it is good to know Hogwarts has such great students representing the school”
“Thank you Minister”
“I bet all of you are very proud of your kids, huh?” The Minister asked, as he looked from the Malfoy’s to the Smith’s.
Sofia and Draco watched as their parents shook their heads while displaying very fake smiles. Sofia and Draco risked a look at each other, both wanting to burst out laughing at the situation.
“It’s been a pleasure seeing you Minister, but if you could excuse us, we have a few more people to visit with. Come Sofia.” And with that, the Smiths left.
Draco had seen Sofia dressed up before but tonight was different, she was stunning! As he watched her from the corner of his eyes, he wished they could be alone for a while, but he needed to figure out how to get her away. When dinner time came, Sofia and her parents were sitting in a table with three other couples, all friends of her parents. The Malfoy’s were siting just a few tables away.
“Draco, are you staring at the Smith girl?”
Lucius Malfoy’s voice, full of venom, was loud enough that only his son could hear him.
“Of course not father, I was simply wondering why Mr. Johnson got invited. That mud-blood should not be here. He is such a disgrace to the magical community”
Draco had learned long ago to lie, and had done it so many times it came naturally, but even he had to admit this was a quick recovery.
“Good, it is bad enough you have to spend hours with her every Tuesday and Thursday, no matter how talented Snape says she is. That family is almost as bad as the Weasley’s and we should not associate with them. Am I clear?”
A few years back, his father’s words about the Smiths had held much more importance than they did now. As dinner progressed Draco continued to watch Sofia, this time more carefully, waiting for an opportunity to sneak away to see her.
Dinner was as delicious as Sofia remembered from previous times. After eating dessert, she excused herself to go to the ladies room. On her way back, as she walked past a few empty offices, a hand grabbed her arm and pulled her inside.
“Finally, I thought you would never come rescue me” Sofia said, with a playful smile on her face.
“Not as easy here, especially with my father around. He said I’m not to associate with you. Enjoying the party so far?”
“Did he?” She said, faking surprise “Yes, it’s been good seeing everyone after so long. How about you?”
“You know I never do, not until we get to slip away anyways. So, I was wondering if you would like to visit a different place sometime this week, instead of the forest by your house.”
“Oh, that sounds great but… my father told me earlier today we are going to France tomorrow, and won’t be back until Christmas Eve on Friday.”
Draco’s face hardened, he had gotten used to the idea of seeing her every day and he was not pleased that she was leaving for the week.
“How come you rarely visited England when you moved to France, but now that you are back in England you are going to visit France?”
“I don’t know. I asked my parents the same question several times before just giving up on it. They never really gave me an answer”
“Can we meet Friday night then?”
“Yes, I would like that. We should go now, before our parents get worried or suspicious.”
As she turned to leave, she could tell he was a little upset. Quickly, before changing her mind, she walked back to him, kissed him on the cheek and walked back towards the door. Before leaving she glanced back and smiled at him.
“See you soon Draco” And she was gone.
Draco waited a few seconds before leaving himself. She had finally called him Draco… that, more than anything, told him that she was finally getting to forgive him.
France had been amazing, as always. And Friday afternoon, which arrived far too fast, found Sofia and her parents having a last minute coffee at an open air café by the Eiffel Tower, their favorite spot in town.
Earlier on, as they visited a Wizarding community to the south of Paris, Sofia wondered around as her parents visited a bookstore. She had yet to buy Draco’s Christmas present, and she was running out of time. She could not think of what to buy him, which was making her very frustrated. Store after store, and nothing. She walked into the last one, about to give up entirely, when she saw it.
Now, enjoying her last minutes in Paris, she was very pleased with herself and could not wait to see Draco that night. After arriving home, Sofia read Hermione’s letter in response to hers about the party. Hermione was almost as excited as Sofia about her date with Draco that night. After a quick shower, she spent the rest of the night reading in her father’s library.
At ten, she wished her parents good night and went to her bedroom. She packed Draco’s present, changed into something warmer and waited for his owl. When it finally arrived, she apparated outside the magical protection of her house, where Draco was waiting.
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