So i know i kind of started the story a bit rough...but i think i've rounded it out nicely so i hope you enjoy it :))
The next several days passed without another row. The four students communicated formally and politely, however forced, and soon they were going to be starting on their presentation, having completed the information part.
Seda was beginning to feel that she was having a tough spot in her life. Her friends, of course, were as great as ever, but there was a mutual understanding that they were disappointed and offended at how much time Seda was spending with stinking Gryffindors. She was no where near being friends with Albus or Rose or Skyla; the last argument had put them all further back. She did not want to be friends with them, but she felt so alone when she was with them and craved company. Possibly the thing that hurt her most was that she was the only one they referred to with a surname.
Seda had never felt so abandoned and alone.
And so, Seda turned to the things that could always keep her company: work and Quidditch.
One Wednsday evening, Seda was sitting at a table in the common room, her nose buried in a book, taking outlines. She was startled when Scorpius appeared out of nowhere and shoved the book off the table and onto the floor.
"What's your problem?" said Seda impatiently.
"You need to stop working, Seda," said Scorpius firmly.
"Scorp," said Seda, a little frantically, "I'm behind in my outlines of Potions!"
"You really think you can get away with lying to me?" Scorpius sounded hurt. He turned on the attack. "You're outlining chapter thirteen, we're on eleven right now."
Seda said nothing, stuck.
"Something's up with you but burying yourself under an impossible mountain isn't the way to deal with it, you ostrich," he said. His voice was not hard or critical: it was soft and sympathetic. He leaned across the table and put his white hand upon Seda's tanned one gently, giving it a squeeze.
Seda looked at him, slightly bewildered at his affection, but touched all the same.
"You're right, Scorp," Seda sighed after a moment. "I just...feel so alone right now."
"And distancing yourself is the way to fix it?" said Scorpius gently, holding her gaze steadily.
And suddenly, Seda knew what he was doing. She frowned at him. "You're trying to charm me so I'll go out with you. You're trying to be my knight in shining armor."
Scorpius' face was blank. He shrugged. "It was worth a try."
Seda laughed softly and shook her head. "Look, I think I'm going to, ah, take a walk. Think for a bit."
Scorpius watched her go bitterly.
On the other side of the secret stone door, Seda stood for several moments in the shady corridor. She had no clue where to go or what to do. She rarely wandered the castle at night, usually too busy for it or having fun in the common room, and the shadows and darkness made everything rather unrecognizeable.
"Well, there's no where to go but up," she thought to herself. Without further ado she headed up to the entrance hall. Seda couldn't have told you which way was where: the enormous entrance hall with the grand marble staircase feeding into it was completely dark.
Seda heard a rustle and a whisper. She refrained from letting out a squeak and quickly hid in the shadow of a coat of armor.
"There's absolutely no one out tonight, man," whispered a voice.
Safe in her hiding place, Seda stared avidly, eyes as round as galleons. A wand tip illuminated and a small group of people stood closer than Seda had calculated.
"What's the temperature tonight?" asked a languid voice. Seda saw the shadow of his arms cracking his nuckles.
"It's cold, it's almost November," said a girl's voice. They were very familiar....
"What are our options?"
"We can go to Hogsmeade...we can wander the halls aimlessly...we could play Quidditch above the lake...."
"It's too cold for recreational flying," hissed a voice.
"Albus, I don't think I've got it down right," said a nervous voice.
Seda gasped and quickly slapped a hand over her mouth.
"I think she's ill, Al," said Rose Weasley.
"Transforming takes a lot of strength," said Albus steadily. "Lily, are you up for it tonight?"
"I've been doing it since third year, I'm fine," Lily snapped stubbornly.
Seda frowned and bit her lip, thinking seriously. Transforming? What on earth could they be talking about?
"Ready?" said Albus.
"I'm going down," said Rose. Seda squinted, trying to make out the wand in her hand. A moment later, however, she didn't have to squint for a blue light grew brighter, and open-mouthed Seda watched Rose Weasley turn from human to something with four legs.
"There's someone over there!" said Skyla sharply.
This time Seda couldn't help but let out a little squeak as a bright light swung and caught her bright and clear.
"Zabini!" gasped Albus and Skyla.
Seda's eyes were fixed on the large panther between them. She mouthed wordlessly, pointing.
"Animagus!" she spluttered.
Albus walked over to her purposefully. Before she knew it, Seda was being backed up against the stone wall, and Albus had her pinned fast with an arm to her chest, his other hand over her mouth, muffling her terrified squeals.
"You never saw this," he snarled.
Seda's eyes were large and terrifed under his suprising strength. She was strangely conscious of how tightly his body was pressed against hers, his racing heart competing with hers. Albus' eyes widened and he let her go. Seda gasped and fell forward helplessly; Albus caught her and pushed her up again.
"Sorry," he apologised. "I just need you to swear to me that you won't tell ANYONE. None of your little friends, no teachers...."
"No-I..." Seda shook her head. Suddenly she was fighting back. She shoved Albus in the chest and he stumbled back, and now he was taken aback at her sudden strength. "What is wrong with you?" she spat venomously. "How dare you treat me like that, Potter?"
"I just need you to swear," said Albus, putting his hands out and backing away.
They stood frozen, locked in each others' gaze. Albus' eyes were glinting more brightly and intriguingly than normal; Seda's dark brown eyes seemed rounder and kinder than their usual cold front. The fight slowly drained out of them both.
"Please," he said softly. "Seda, you can't tell anyone."
Seda blinked but did not look away. She swallowed. She could not explain, even to herself, the emotion she felt at the use of her first name.
"Al, a teacher's coming!"
"Oh great...." Seda's last visual memory was of him, his face looking into hers intently, before all light was extinguished and they were plunged in darkness.
A cold hand grasped Seda's and pulled her forward. Before she knew it she was running, almost sprinting with whoever was guiding her. For a split second she wondered how on earth they could see, and why the teacher couldn't hear their pounding footsteps.
"Al," gasped a voice, "What do we do?"
"Transform and hide," panted Albus. "I'll take care of Zabini."
And abruptly he stopped running. Seda collided into him painfully but she quickly regained her balance.
"Are we alone now?" she breathed, heart racing.
"No," Albus whispered. "They're still in the room. Oh, man...someone must've tipped Filch off tonight." A distant light flared down at the end of the corridor. The distinct hunched figure of the miserable caretaker was illuminated; but at the same time, so were they, and so off they went again.
"Stay close with me," said Albus. He took her hand again and ripped through a tapestry. Seda let out a little yelp and jumped just in time. With no time to figure her bearings, Seda was whipped away and stumbled blindly up a narrow staircase.
"What is this place?!" she cried, and her voice echoed a hundred times.
And below them, the snarling voice- "I hear you, you misfit twerps..."
"Shut up," Albus hissed and dragged Seda into some other unknown hallway. Again he took another secret passageway, into strange labyrinths of the school Seda hadn't even bothered to consider. They dashed across a wide corridor, Albus crashed through a door, and once they were both through it, he slammed it behind them.
Seda panted and gasped for her breath, doubled over, trying to regain a normal heartrate. Slowly the room around her began to become distinct: she could see shiny reflections.
"We-we're in the tro-trophy room?" she sighed, standing straight and facing Albus, who was still leaning against the door and breathing heavily.
"Lumos," Albus muttered hoarsley. A dim light illuminated. Seda blinked in the sudden light. She was suprised and insulted to see Albus grinning at her.
"What's so funny?" she frowned.
"You should've seen your face." Albus let out a laugh. "You were scared as hell. Oh, that was priceless."
Seda glared. She stepped towards him slowly. "Did you set that up?"
"N-no," Albus coughed. "'Course not. If that wasn't a set up I wouldn't have saved your ass."
Seda folded her arms and looked around, away, anywhere but at him. She was feeling sick to her stomach at her display of uselessness in an exciting situation.
"You were so calm," she said at last.
"Well, if you sneak out every night for five years," said Albus lazily, and he slowly leaned over to read a plaque, "You get kind of immune to the looming figure of Filch or other teachers."
"Hmm, I never thought goody Gryffindors would do that sort of tom foolery," smirked Seda.
"We prefer to refer to 'tom foolery' as 'trouble'," Albus smirked back, and he approached her.
Seda's mouth was slightly open. "You think you're so bad ass. Weasley pretending to be an animagus...that was a good one...."
Albus' eyes glinted for a moment. "Oh, right, you saw that...Of course it was a stunt. Let's go with that...."
It was his turn to look away uncomfortably. Seda narrowed her eyes at him. "I know it's true. I just can't believe it."
"Zabini," he said intensely, "You have to promise. Please, you really...you're in this now. I don't feel like obliviating you so...just...."
But Seda nodded. "I know. I...I promise. Now, how am I going to get back downstairs?"
"Out this way," Albus nodded at the door behind him.
"Right," said Seda, teeth clenched. "Well, excuse me." She took a step forward, trying to get past, but Albus side-stepped her. Seda refrained from cursing him out of the way.
"What's your problem?" she snarled suddenly, ultimately unable to get to the door.
"I can't let you go blundering along like a headless hippogriff, with Filch snooping around," said Albus sincerely. "Because admit it, you know the castle at night no better than you know yourself."
Seda stared at him, faintly aghast. "Fine," she snapped. "Take me downstairs."
Albus nodded and he sighed. "Of course."
Several weeks later, Slytherin and Gryffindor sat in Advanced Transfiguration, taking a test. Almost everybody was struggling in the class now: the only two who where on top of things were Seda and Rose Weasley, although Seda wasn't as willing as Rose to help others. Now Seda shakily finished the essay question. One by one the class stood up to turn the paper in to Professor Philburt.
"I hate theory," Scorpius muttered as he slipped back to his seat next to Seda.
Seda said nothing, for she preferred theory to practical.
"No talking," announced Philburt.
Ten minutes later everyone had completed the test. Philburt stood, resting on his desk, almost staring the students down.
"Well, I've finished grading your projects," he said at last.
Seda raised her eyebrows and sat forward in her seat.
Professor Philburt glanced at the clock. "We only have six minutes left, so it will be faster if you get into your old groups."
Seda's lips tightened and she got to her feet. She made her way over to Albus, Rose and Skyla, feeling slightly nervous. They had not spoken since they presented the project, not even exchanged glances.
"We did fine," said Skyla bracingly.
Philburt now went among the groups, giving them a small piece of parchment with the grades and comments. Rose picked up their paper. She took a breath and unfolded it.
"Ninety-eight per cent," she read out. She looked up at them, her brown eyes thoughtful. "It's still an 'O'."
"What did he say?" asked Seda, leaning closer to read the comments.
"We messed up Air and the guy Atilla Nagy," said Rose. "He didn't come up with these two, we grouped them incorrectly."
"Ah," sighed Albus, putting a hand to his forehead. "Of course."
"Hang on." Seda took the paper from Rose and read it carefully. She pictured their Air segment on the poster. "No, we theoretically grouped them correctly. I remember, we weren't really clear on that section, he could easily have been confused."
"But-" began Skyla.
"We presented it correctly," Seda snapped. "I know we did. Let me talk to him."
"Oh- Zabini," groaned Skyla.
"It's a ninety-eight, let it go," Rose advised.
"We are two points from a hundred," said Seda clearly. "Look, let me prove Philburt wrong." Without their answer, she went up to their poster which sat on a precarious display with the others.
"Professor," she called.
Professor Philburt sighed impatiently. He slouched over to her irritably.
"Yes, Miss Zabini?"
"We theoretically grouped these correctly," said Seda firmly, pointing. "You misread it. See, these two were created by Atilla Nagy."
Philburt squinted at it. He now saw that she was right. He hesitated; he didn't give out one hundreds very often, in fact he seldom did. He tried to push his students as much as possible. But this proved that this group had no errors.
"Oh, fine," he sighed, "I guess you're right, Miss Zabini. I'll add two points."
Seda smiled smugly. "Thank you, Professor." She threw her hair over her shoulder and returned to the Gryffindors, gloating. "You can change that to a hundred per cent."
"Nice working with you, Zabini," grinned Albus.
"How do you do it?" sighed Malachy.
"Do what?" said Seda vaguely as she carefully checked over her assignments.
"Finish all your work, have Quidditch practice, and have time to do other stuff."
"I just have time management," said Seda calmly. She shut her books and began to put them into her bag. "I grew up on an intense schedule, learned how to control my time."
"You had a childhoold, Seda?" said Monalisa, sounding rather suprised.
Seda threw her a glare.
"Seriously," said Monalisa defensively, "You've been this way since first year. Is Mr Zabini strict?"
Seda shrugged. "I don't know. I was raised by a series of nannies. One taught me magic, one taught me language, one taught me mathematics, several taught me Quidditch."
"Blimey," said Malachy, shaking his head. His hair flopped as usual.
Seda yawned widely, hit by a stroke of fatigue. "I think I'll go up to the dormitories now. See you later Mona."
"'Night," Malachy replied.
She stood and picked up her bag. She was happy to find the dim dormitory empty. Seda exhaled deeply and flopped onto her cast iron-framed bed and lay on the green blankets for several minutes. Slowly with a groan she committed herself to extracting a book and opening it.
The book was called Transformatorum, Volume III. Seda carefully found her marked spot and continued to read through her tiredness. Stubborn and determined, she vowed to figure out how those Gryffindors were able to achieve the process, which was quite complex.
She frowned at the paragraph she was reading:
Before one decides to attempt a transformation for the first time, he should be familiar with human anatomy or his personal build. It is not required, but highly recommended by professional trainers.
Seda raised an eyebrow at the text. She decided to follow the safe side and got up from the bed and headed into the adjoined bathroom. She turned on the light and approached the mirror. For a moment she stood before the streaked glass, looking blankly at her reflection. She did not understand what inspecting her looks had to do with the transformation. Now she leaned closer, hands supporting on the counter.
Seda took herself in objectively. She saw immediately, as did everyone else, her Oriental features: her long dark eyes, identical to her father's, above her high cheekbones and diamond-shaped face. Her lips were gentle and curved. Her skin was brown, her hair jet black. The only Caucasian feature about her was her nose, which was straight and lightly freckled. She had obviously inherited it from her mother, but Seda did not remember the woman.
She hesitated, then left the bathroom and knelt before her trunk. She flung it open and rummaged through it for a few minutes, her slightly shaking hands shifting neat piles of clothes and books until she found a flimsy little booklet. She pulled it up close and flipped open the soft pages.
Seda looked at her mother waving at her. The woman's first name was Janine, she had been wife number two, and that was all Seda knew about her. Now she studied the figure closely: she had a kind, heart-shaped face and brownish hair. Seda saw that her eyes were a soft brown color. Seda could see now the nose, and with a small shock realized they had the same smile. She wasn't very interesting-looking, she wasn't gorgeous, but the picture in which Blaise had his hand in hers depicted an honest and deep relationship.
Seda had several half-siblings at Hogwarts, most of whom didn't look quite so much like Blaise as she did. Seda rarely spoke to them, barely even knew them. All of their mothers, however, were still alive.
She sighed and put the booklet away, refusing to succumb to any emotion. She slowly closed the lid of her trunk then crawled back into her bed and continued to read.
Reviews would be much appreciated.
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