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Vraiment by LadyRedRoka

Format: Novel
Chapters: 10
Word Count: 31,349

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, General
Characters: Scorpius, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Hugo, Rose, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Draco/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 10/17/2008
Last Chapter: 12/20/2008
Last Updated: 12/20/2008


Banner created by piper_weasley!!  Seda Zabini is surrounded by the perfect people. Her best friends Scorpius, Malachy Nott, and Monalisa Greengrass would do anything for her. But in sixth year the Dream Team is split up for a transfiguration project, and Seda is stuck with a bunch of famous Gryffindors. Seda has a tough exterior and has great reason to be the way she is...but can one Gryffindor break down her barrier? Perhaps someone like...Albus Potter? 1000+ reads

Chapter 6: Good to be Home

Seda, Scorpius, Malachy and Monalisa came out on Platform Nine, each of them glancing around for their reception. It didn't take long to find their parents.

"Hello, Scorpius," said his mother warmly, and she hugged him before he could squirm away. While Malachy and Monalisa approached their own parents, Seda stepped up.

"Hi Scotty," said Seda, smiling at her old butler.

"'Ello, Seda," he said gruffly, grasping her outstretched hand. His hair was still white under the cap he wore and his shoulders were a bit stooped. His name was Paul Scott but Seda insisted on calling him Scotty. Paul Scott had been the closest parent thing Seda had; yet there was still a wall between them as they both recognized Scott could not be much more than a butler. "Good term, dear?"

Seda shrugged. "Quite good, yes. Hello, Mrs. Malfoy." But Mrs. Malfoy was busy talking to Monalisa's father. "Okay...bye, Scorp."

Scorpius wrapped his arms around Seda, holding him to her firmly. He kissed her quickly then let her go. "'Bye Seda. I'll see you next year."

Seda smiled and waved at her friends. Then she turned and followed Scott out of the train station. He led her to an attractive black car.

"Have you learned to really drive yet, Scotty?" Seda teased. She closed the passenger door and settled into the seat.

"Oh, you haven't changed, have you, Sedaline?" said Scott and he smirked at her. Seda couldn't be angry with him.

"Good comeback," she laughed. Scott started the car. There was a slight pop, a flash of light and a feeling of falling through the air; then the car materialized in the driveway of Blaise Zabini's manor.

Seda fell quiet and subdued as she walked up to the house, leaving Scott to deal with her trunk. The house was handsome: olive green with green ivy crawling up the walls with large white windows, sprawling before the circular driveway.

"I'll get the door for you, Seda," said Scott quickly. Seda stood back and allowed the man to balance the trunk on its hind with one hand and with the other take out his wand and tap the emerald green door, which then swung open. Seda walked in before him, into the entrance hall which was wrapped in intricate woodwork.

"Good to be home?" Scott asked her. He tapped her trunk and it disappeared.

"I suppose so," said Seda truthfully. She glanced around: to the right was the living room and to the left the den and more private living spaces.

The sound of distant footsteps floated into the entrance and a minute later a woman stepped out of the far room which led onto the rest of the house.

"Hello, Sedaline," she said sweetly. "You remember me, of course."

Seda stuffed her hands in her jean pockets defensively, hiking her shoulders up warily. The woman was Tracy Rumsfeld. She had red hair and green eyes and had a strange nasal accent. Seda had given up caring about her father's wives, but she did recognize that this was the first redhead of the lot.

Seda nodded. She remembered the woman. She had come home at the end of fifth year to find the lady simply living in the house. Tracy was American, and had amazingly different views of life than Seda.

"I'm sorry I couldn't pick you up myself," said Tracy, "I was busy making dinner for the kids."

Seda turned to Scott. "What kids?" she asked him.

"Maureen's children," the butler replied. To Tracy he said: "I'll set the table now, madam."

"Well, come on in, Sedaline," said Tracy brightly. "This way, now."

"I know the way around my house," Seda bristled, "and if you call me Sedaline again I'll cut you."

Tracy stopped and blinked, looking hurt. Seda ignored her and stalked past with her nose in the air. She made her way through the many rooms and entered the modern kitchen. She caught a glimpse of the room before there was a squeal; the next moment, the wind had been knocked out of her as little arms squeezed themselves around her waist.

"Sadie!" squealed the little girl.

"Camali!" Seda grinned. She picked up the four-year old, balancing her on her hip. "What did I tell you about calling me Sadie?" she repremanded gently.

"Sorry," said Camali quickly. Seda smiled softly. Camali had large clear brown eyes and matching bob-cut chocolate brown hair; she had tanned skin and pink lips.

"Hi Seda!" said another voice.

"Hey, Veasna," Seda smiled at Camali's six-year old brother. He was a spitting image of his little sister, only taller. "What's up?"

"Long division," said Veasna proudly, and he stuck out his chest.

"Going along at a good clip," said Seda enthusiastically, "Well done, little man."

Seda hated Veasna and Camali's mother, Maureen, with a passion. She was half Scottish and half Cambodian and had been barely short of abusive toward Seda. Then she left and dumped her kids in Blaise's abysmal care. It was Maureen who had traumatized Seda with the nickname Sadie, and Seda shuddered every time she thought of her.

But Seda loved her children. They were beautiful and innocent, a break from the haste and perfection of Seda's life. The girl felt particularly connected to them because they were the only ones other than Seda herself who were left in their fathers' care, abandoned by their mothers.

Tracy pushed the door open. "I just called your dad down, kids. Come to the table."

Seda nodded curtly. She led the young ones into the brightly lit dining room. The three of them took their seats at the unnerving mahogany table; Tracy sat opposite them and Scott stood at the door like a statue.

Several minutes later the door opened and Blaise entered. He looked the same as ever: tall with short black hair and striking features. He wore handsome dark green robes. He silently crossed the room and sat in his seat at the head of the table. He regarded the table and the occupants sitting around it.

"Hello, Seda," he said softly.

"Hello, Father," Seda replied formally.

"Did you make this yourself, Tracy?" he asked the red-haired woman, suddenly gentle.

"Sure I did," said Tracy. She looked confused but didn't ask any questions. "It's beef pot pie. I'm sorry I don't know your favorite food, Seda."

Seda shrugged. "Beef's fine."

"Mr Scott," Camali called.

"Don't whine, Camali," said Blaise sternly.

Scott came forward and filled the childrens' plates with the pie, including Seda's.

"You spoil me, Scotty," Seda smirked.

"Welcome home," he responded, giving her a sad smile. Seda's face fell slightly and she looked down at her plate.

The family fell into silence.

"I see you're wearing a Salem University sweatshirt, Seda," said Tracy out of the silence.

Seda looked down at the crimson jacket. "I'll be going to the best wizard university, I know so, Ms Rumsfeld. Well, I suppose it is the -only- wizard university...."

"It depends on how your grades are," came Blaise's gruff voice.

"Worry not, Father," said Seda calmly. "I have my grades in my trunk, if you'd like to see them."

Wordlessly Blaise drew his wand and a second later Seda's progress report zoomed into his hand. "Hopefully you've done better than your final report last year, Seda."

"It was one E, Father," Seda scowled.

The room was silent as Blaise imperiously read Seda's grades. After a moment he folded the parchment and tossed it to his shoulder; it zoomed into Scott's gloved hand.

"Well done," was all he said.

Seda set her jaw and continued on her pie, which was rather dry.

"Well how were they?" Tracy asked kindly.

"All Outstandings," said Seda quickly. "I got a hundred percent in each of my classes. Even in Dark Arts, Father."

"It's progress," Blaise admitted.

There was a tight silence.

"Aren't you proud of her?" inquired Tracy. She sounded rather strained. "All Outstandings is, well, outstanding, isn't it?"

Blaise looked at his wife and then at his daughter, who blinked back at him. Vaguely she wondered if he'd pretend to be nicey-nice for this new woman's sake.

"I'm proud of her," said Blaise, and it sounded as if he was admitting something embarrassing. But Seda's mouth twitched slightly, the corners turning upward. "Although, who's Prefect this year, Seda?"

"Glenda Donovan and Scorpius," replied Seda.

"Ah, right," said Blaise lightly. "You'll be aiming for Head Girl next year, won't you?"

"Yes, Father," said Seda quietly.

There was another long silence. Tracy was looking rather worried, glancing between her husband and her step-daughter. -Caught on that he doesn't give a damn, did she?- Seda thought bitterly.

"Seda," squeaked Camali.

"Yes, Mali?" Seda asked.

"Will you play with me tomorrow?" Camali gazed up into her face. Seda smiled at the girl. She couldn't be cold to such a cute little girl.

"Of course," Seda replied. "Veasna, what're you up to tomorrow?"

Veasna shrugged, twirling his potatoes in his fork silently.

"Veasna has one day of studying left," said Blaise. "Then he can play for as long as he wants."

Tracy leaned over the table, smiling at Seda. "Seda, we didn't get to know each other very well over the summer, you were so busy....What do you say to a nice mother-daughter chat tomorrow?"

Seda's face darkened at the woman's kindness. She felt a lick of anger in her stomach and a dull ache pull at her heart. "I'd like that, if she was here," she said shortly.

It seemed to take a few minutes for Tracy to process her words; then her eyes widened nervously.

"Seda," said Blaise calmingly, "I see you're getting angry. Tracy's very nice, you'll give her a chance."

But Seda's anger was simply rising. She struggled to keep her emotions in check. "Father, Ms Rumsfeld is trying to be my mother, she's trying to be my friend. I don't have to accept her. You-"

"Seda," said Scott suddenly. "Your trunk is upstairs, come up and sort out the dirty laundry for me."

"Oh," said Seda enthusiastically, preparing to stand.

"No," said Blaise quietly. "Sedaline, sit and finish your meal. You'll apologise to Tracy."

"No, it's no problem," said Tracy, looking alarmed. "Seda, I understand if you want time to accept me."

And Seda, whose heart was now screaming, snarled, "There won't be time for you to do anything here, let alone wait for me to accept your random self. You'll be out of here within three months just like the rest of them were."

Blaise's voice rang out angrily. "Sedaline Victoria! That is quite enough! Now you hold your tongue, young lady."

"D'you know how he -actually- makes his money?" Seda asked sweetly.

There was a pregnant pause.

"He runs the wizarding black market industry, for your information," said Seda viciously. She stood up, clenching her fists tightly. "He recruits hitmen occasionally, too. That wealth you're digging for is bloody money, you tramp."

Now Blaise stood up, too, looking livid. Tracy jumped up, bewildered and rather frightened.

"Apologise!" Blaise yelled.

"HELL NO!" Seda screeched. She kicked her chair aside and ran from the dining room. She sprinted through the large rooms and thundered up the back staircase, struggling to keep her heart in her chest. Running down the dim hallways on the third floor, Seda flung her shoulder at the door at the end of the hall, bursting into her room. She slammed the door behind her; she heard the hinges break but ignored it.

Seda stood still in her bedroom, staring unseeingly at her bay window. Her hands clenched and unclenched themselves compulsively. Her heart was screaming, her brain reeling. She couldn't take it anymore, nobody could bear this much grief in one body... But still she did not cry.

There was a timid knock on the door.

"GO AWAY!" Seda bellowed immediately.

There was a pause; the floorboards outside creaked. "It's me," said Paul Scott.

Seda hesitated. She resolved not to answer and simply flopped on her bed weakly. The door squeaked open and Scott tiptoed in, snapping it shut quietly behind him. He turned to regard Seda gravely.

"Come now," he said softly. "Tracy's very nice. I think you should try to give her a chance."

Seda was too weak to glare at the butler. "Scotty," she whined, "You know what happened last time I gave the big Her a chance. It was all a plot, I know it was. Then the one before her, I actually got Attatched to, and she was gone after I liked her. I'm not liking any of those women anymore, they're just out to get me." She reached for a pillow and hugged it tightly.

"Oh, Seda," Scott sighed, "Don't speak like a child. I really think Tracy's the best one so far. Maybe it's because she's American, she has a different mind...."

"She's going to leave him," Seda said moodily. She felt a constriction in her throat and a distant fog in her eyes. She blinked and swallowed stubbornly.

"...Do you want to talk to her?" Scott asked slowly. "Just see what she's coming from? Just give her a tiny chance, and if you don't trust her, we won't push you any more."

Seda's grip tightened on her pillow. She bit her lip, her brain telling her one thing and her heart another. She wanted a mother figure, she knew that in her heart...but getting hurt again was not worth it, said her brain. For some reason Albus Potter's face floated into her mind.

"Yes," she heard herself say.

Scott sidled over to the door and opened it. It swung open, shaking slightly on its damaged hinges, and revealed Tracy. She looked tense and nervous as she entered cautiously; Scott melted into the shadows. The woman's awkwardness made Seda feel impatient.

The door swung shut and Tracy and Seda stared at each other for a minutes, sizing each other up. The silence stretched on, until Seda spoke. Her tone was hard and offensive.

"Number one," she said.

"I'm sorry?" asked Tracy.

Seda threw away her pillow and got off her bed. She crossed the room to her desk and opened a drawer, more aggressively than she intended; it came flying out of its track. Tutting impatiently she picked up the ancient piece of parchment.

Seda cleared her throat. "Wife number one: Maria Hadden. Nice woman, curly hair." She flashed the small picture under Tracy's nose. "Wife number two: Janine Fontaine, my mother. Now let me introduce you to Cheatee number one: Cho Chang. Her daughter Chey-Lin is my age, and is such a bitch." She paused, glaring at the woman, who was silent and subdued. "Claudia Schmidt, the first of the many Swedish women. She had Eugene, who's in fourth year. Number four, Nora Quinn, Sean's mum. She was nice and might've stayed if Cheatee number two, Anika Orange, hadn't popped up. Next was Korea Baye who had Danielle. Korea was a good mother I suppose, and she lasted good time, before she realized what she had got herself into. I liked Korea." Seda took a breath, and now she wasn't looking at Tracy, but down at the paper.

"Then Maureen Tat came along." She gave a forced, dry laugh. "She was a lot like you. Sweet and nice and oblivious. Until she beat the shit out of me, of course. Why, I have no idea, I was somewhat polite to her. But it took her a few months and she cracked. I love Mali and Veasna but really..." She looked up, smiling oddly. "Francesca George was, and remains to be, my hero. She was cheatee number three, but I was glad, 'cause she got rid of," she shuddered, "Maureen."

Her lips curled and she made a clicking noise in the back of her throat. "You're next. Wife number seven, woman number ten. So I'm sorry if, you know, I don't love you and all that."

Tears were streaming down Tracy's face and Seda hated her crying not because she felt sorry but because the woman was not trying to fight back. She simply stood there with water flowing from her eyes.

"You're in pain," she sniffed, wiping her cheeks.

"Not anymore," said Seda, not understanding her comment. "Although I think a scar was left along my arm."

"I'm sorry, Seda," Tracy sighed. "I didn't know all of that before. Do you give that performance to all of the wives?"

"Congratulations, you're the first," Seda replied hollowly. "Maureen taught me well."

Tracy took a shaky breath. "I don't know what Maureen did to you but...I would never, ever lay a hand on you inappropriately."

Seda glared at her, her face full of distrust.

"My parents divorced when I was young," said Tracy and she wiped her cheeks again. "My brother and I thought that was bad enough. I can't imagine, Seda..."

Seda's eyes glinted. "You pity me."

Tracy blinked. Then she nodded wryly.

Seda rolled her eyes and groaned, turning away from the woman. "Pity...It's very undermining. I don't like to be some sort of charity case."

Tracy opened her mouth but stopped, looking concerned.

"I'd like to like you, Ms Rumsfeld," said Seda honestly. She turned to face the woman squarely. "It would be very nice to be your friend. But you're not going to last any longer than any of the others and I just can't get attached to you."

Tracy bit her lip. A few more tears leaked out and she nodded slowly. She turned away with her head bowed and left the room slowly. Scott sent both women sympathetic looks then slipped out. Seda's face screwed itself into a tearless tantrum and she flopped back onto her bed feeling thoroughly miserable.

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