It was three o'clock in the afternoon and Seline Zabini was still in her floor length silk night dress and her matching robe. She was never one to be seen around her house in her nightwear, much less so at this hour of the day, but today her brain and her body could not function, not even to do the menial task of getting dressed. She had hardly slept for days now and food just wasn't her concern. She could only remember feeling like this once in her life before and the memory of that was one she constantly tried to repress every day. It was the day she had been forced to give her only daughter away. She had had to hand over her beautiful baby to strangers knowing that she would not be able to see her angel grow up, that she would not get to watch her transform from a girl to a woman, that she would not even get to create any memories with her at all. Seline never wanted to feel like that again but here she was, feeling much the same as she did all those years ago.
Standing at the large bay window in her personal tea room, she let a lone tear fall down her porcelain cheek. She had spent may nights and days in here with her daughter once she had finally returned home. Seline had shown her heirlooms she had saved for her over the years, told her stories of life in Zabini Manor and had even began to teach her how to play the piano. They were never interupted by the men in their family for they knew that it was their special time. Their mother and daugther time, where for a few hours they were the only people in each other's lives. They were the only people to love and care for and they were the only people who mattered. Now, though, that was gone. Her daughter had vanished as if she had never even returned. Seline had even thought that maybe she was going insane. Maybe her daughter had never even come home. Maybe she was still out there, still unaware of her true heritage, of her true family and of her true mother but as soon as she thought this she was reminded that this was not the case.
It was more proof to her than a reminder as what she saw could not be disputed. There, hanging on the pale pink wall of the tearoom was a large frame. Seline had hung it herself a few months ago. She had been elated when she had done it for this was her most treasured and most favorite object she now had. If her house was burning to the ground, she woud ensure that this did not perish with it as in the hand carved cream wooden frame was a photograph. It pictured herself smiling with so much pride she practically glowed. Her arms encircled a girl with ebony hair and pale skin. Her blue eyes shone just as brightly as Seline's own and her smile shone even brighter. This was what proved to Seline that she had not dreamt her daughter's return home for this was photographic evidence. This was her prized possession. This was a photo of herself with her daughter on the first birthday she had ever been able to spend with her. The two smiled as Seline hugged her and they laughed as she squoze her too tight. Seline remembered never wanting to let go of her in that moment and now she wished that she hadn't. If she hadn't let go then her daughter couldn't have left. If she hadn't let go her daughter would still be here, at home and in her mother's arms.
This thought caused Seline to choke. She held out her arms as if expecting her beloved angel to be there but all she was met with was empty space. Her arms drew closer as she hugged her own body and sunk to her knees in the empty tea room. No more could she hear her daughter's tinkling laughter or the sweet music they had played together. Now all she could hear was her own sobs as they racked through her body. Her daughter wasn't here and she wasn't coming back. As Seline Zabini came to this realisation she could only manage to choke out one word inbetween her strangled cries.
"I'm just going to have to go", Sofia sighed.
She and the boys had been trying to figure out how she could get her trunk and belongings for Hogwarts from the manor without having to actually go there.
"I'm telling you, you could just accio them all here!", Ron exclaimed for the tenth time that afternoon.
"As I've already told you, I don't think muggles would take to a trunk flying through the air!", Sofia said exasperatedly.
"We could always go for you", Harry offered.
"I couldn't ask you to do that. I wouldn't put it past Blaise and my Father to tie you up and keep you hostage untill you told them the location of this place".
"Well, why don't we all go together? We can help you get in and out faster and your parents won't want to cause a scene in front of your friends".
"I suppose you're right. I was planning on getting Caggie to pack for me though, then it would all be done in a flash so hopefully my family wouldn't be able to get to my room in time".
"Who the hell is Caggie?", asked Ron.
"My house elf".
Harry and Ron stared at her in disbelief.
"Oh, don't look at me like that. I told them my views and went to great lengths to ensure that all the elves were happy at the manor and that they were treated fairly!", she admonished.
"It's not that, although we are surprised that you of all people have one", Harry said.
"Well what are you both staring at me like that for?".
"Hermione, are you stupid?", Ron asked, "We've been sat here for bloody ages trying to work out how to get your stuff and you have a bloody house elf!".
"Yeah so?", Sofia asked, confused as to where Ron was going with this.
"Merlin, I thought you were meant to be smart. Call her you idiot!".
"Oh. I didn't think of that! Ron that is brilliant! Luna is definitely having a good effect on you", Sofia smiled.
At this, Ron smiled shyly as his ears turned red.
"Aww look, little Ronniekins is in love", Harry joked as Sofia laughed along with him.
"Shut up you two and just call your frigging elf", Ron grumbled.
Within seconds Sofia's beloved house elf appeared in front of her.
"Miss Sofia, Caggie is so happy to see you!", the elf squeaked.
"Thank you, Caggie, it's very nice to see you too", Sofia smiled, "I was wondering if you would be able to pack all my belongings that I will need for Hogwarts into my trunk and bring them back here as fast as you can?".
"Of course, little Miss, Caggie will do anything but Miss Sofia should know that the manor is very sad without you. Master Andre and Mistress Seline are most upset", Caggie said softly.
"I know but I just don't want to go back home yet, Caggie. If anyone asks how I got my belongings you may tell them the truth but please do not bring my parents, Blaise or anyone else here, Caggie", Sofia replied.
"Of course, Miss Sofia. Caggie will be back shortly".
With that, Caggie disappeared with a loud crack.
"Nice elf", Ron laughed.
"She's actually very sweet", Sofia retaliated.
"So, what are you going to do at school? You can't exactly avoid them when you share a common room with them", Harry asked, clearly talking about Draco and Blaise.
"I haven't figured that one out yet", Sofia sighed.
"Well you better hurry up, we're going back tomorrow".
"What's it like in there anyway? I mean, I know me and Harry have seen it before but to live in there. It must be weird", Ron questioned.
"I hated it at first. I just kept comparing everything to the Gryffindor common room and it made me hate it even more. I soon made friends though and it became alright, it's actually not too bad when you get used to it", Sofia answered.
She looked up the see the glum faces of her two best friends. She knew they had wanted her to tell them that she hated it and wanted to go back to Gryffindor. Right now, she wished she could do that, but she wouldn't lie and tell them it was awful.
"I didn't want to move houses you know, even though you two weren't talking to me", she started, "Gryffindor was my home, it was where I thought I belonged and I miss it so much. I really do".
Harry smiled at this but Sofia knew that Ron was just bursting with a question he wanted to ask her.
"Why did you get put in Slytherin? Did the sorting hat tell you?".
"Yes. It said that I was still loyal and brave and had a brilliant mind, but it is the blood of Zabini that runs in my veins. It said it was a tough decision. I think it was a decision between my heart and my heritage and it chose the latter".
Sofia had never told anyone that but she was glad she had shared it with Harry and Ron. This seemed to confirm to them that she was still the same. If they were honest, they were now just putting the reason for her current house down to her family. Their Hermione was still the same and they couldn't be happier.
Meanwhile, at Zabini Manor, Narcissa Malfoy headed back into the lounge after seeing to her best friend. The Malfoys had come as soon as Blaise flooed to their home after finding his Mother in her personal tearoom. Narcissa had never seen someone in so much emotional pain. It saddened her beyond belief to see how broken Seline Zabini was. She had gently coaxed her to her bedroom and had given Seline a sleeping draught, for she knew her friend needed to get away from her troubles for a short while.
"How is she?", Lucius Malfoy asked.
"She's sleeping. She won't wake for a good few hours now".
Andre Zabini stood at the window in the lounge with a grave expression adorning his features.
"This is all my fault", he whispered.
"Andre, do not be hard too hard on yourself", Narcissa comforted.
"Too hard? Because of me my wife is in pieces and I have never seen my son so lost and heartbroken! Because of me my daughter has left after only being in our lives for a few months and because of me she won't be coming back!".
Silence ensued the room after Andre's outburst. Blaise sat on the chaise longue soaking up his words. He didn't for one minute hold his Father accountable for Sofia's departure because he knew the truth behind the room and behind his past.
"This is not your fault, Dad. Yes, maybe you should have told her to begin with and been honest from the start but we all understand why you didn't. We know you couldn't bare losing her after just finding her again. Please, do not blame yourself. We will find her and she will come home", Blaise said.
Andre was astounded by the fierce determination he saw in his son's eyes, that were so much like his wife's. He had told Blaise about Sofia ever since she had been given away. Blaise was raised knowing that he had a twin and he was raised knowing how special she was. However, nothing could have prepared Andre Zabini for the bond his children already shared. They were as close as twins could be and it was so beautiful to watch but now he had ruined that. The guilt he felt consumed him just as much as the sadness and heartache he felt for his missing daughter. His sweet, sweet Sofia was out there somewhere and it was his fault she wasn't at home with her family.
It was at that moment that Draco walked into the lounge where Blaise, Andre and his parents were sitting.
"Caggie has just returned. She said Sofia asked her to bring her her school things but she is not allowed to tell us where she is".
He couldn't stand the pained looks in everyone's eyes. It was yet another blow to the system as Caggie was their last chance at finding Sofia before they went back to school. They had hoped that Sofia would call her and then Caggie could tell them the location of her hiding place but Sofia had been too smart for them. They should have expected it as, after all, she was the brightest witch of their age but they had hoped with everything they had that she would not have forbidden Caggie to tell them of her whereabouts.
"Well, at least you know she is going back to school on Sunday", Lucius smiled.
"And what use is that?", Andre spat.
"If you know she is going back then you know where she will be at 11 o'clock on Sunday or failing that, you know she will be at Hogwarts for the weeks following", Lucius announced.
Realisation dawned on the elder Zabini's face. Of course, just beause they couldn't find her now didn't mean he couldn't find her ever again. He could go to King's Cross and talk to her before she got on the train or even go to Hogwarts. Either way he was going to talk his daughter and he was going to fix this.
However, Andre Zabini had no luck finding his daughter on Platform 9 and 3/4 the following Sunday. He searched everywhere, even boarding the Hogwarts Express to search for her before it left the station, but no matter how much he tried his sweet Sofia was nowhere to be found. He watched as the train left the station somehow knowing that his daughter had evaded him on purpose and somehow knowing that she was on the train that was now disappearing from his sight.
He crumbled inside as he comprehended the fact that today he had failed to reunite his family once more. Now, he had to go back and tell his wonderful wife that he had failed. Knowing the tears that would befall her beautiful face because of him, Andre Zabini went home to his wife as a broken man.
"Have you seen her yet?", Draco asked Blaise who was walking back into their compartment on the train.
"No, I can't find her anywhere. I'm guessing you didn't have any luck either?".
"No", was his solemn reply.
Neither boy knew that Sofia was sat under Harry's invisibility cloak in a compartment with the boys and Ginny.
"Look, she has to be here somewhere. Caggie took her school things to her and she wouldn't have asked for them if she wasn't coming back", Pansy assured.
"She might be able to hide on the train but she can't exactly hide once we're back at school. We'll see her at the feast", Daphne added.
"I suppose so, I just miss her you know. I just got her back and now she's gone again", Blaise said as he looked out of the window.
It was rare for any of the Slytherins, let alone Blaise, to show any emotion like this so the fact that he had done so made the others feel for him. Sofia may have been their friend but she was Blaise's twin and they couldn't even begin to imagine the pain he was going through right now.
"She'll come back to us", Daphne whispered as she put a comforting hand on Blaise's leg. "I know she will".
The group of Slytherins did see Sofia during the feast but she was sat at the other end of the table with Giorgie and Millie. No matter how much any of them tried to catch her attention she wouldn't give it to them. When the feast had ended they had all scrabbled to their feet to try and get to her but found that she had already gone. She was not in the common room either so when Pansy came back downstairs after checking their dormitory they all looked to her in anticipation.
"She's in there alright but she won't speak. She's actually cast charms around herself so she can't hear us and if we try to get near her bed they just force you back and believe me there's no getting through them with magic either".
The group let out and audible sigh.
"If she just let us explain she might understand!", Blaise shouted.
He was not used to feeling sadness so he dealt with it in the only way he knew how; by being angry.
"She's so fucking selfish! She won't even give us the chance to explain! Why does she always have to be so up her arse and be all fucking high and mighty all the time! DOES SHE NOT KNOW THAT PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES? SO WHAT IF EVERYONE ISN'T ALL SWEETNESS AND LIGHT LIKE HER! WE CAN'T ALL SAVE THE GOD DAMN WIZARDING WORLD!".
Blaise threw one of the green lamps, which was around the common room, to the other side of room where it smashed against the wall. The rest of the Slytherins flinched at his actions and his words. They had never seen their friend break down like this and it scared them.
"It's nice to know your opinion Blaise, I'll bare it in mind".
All faces looked up to see Sofia stood at the bottom of the staircase.
"Sofia, I-I didn't mean that, ju-".
"Yeah I'm sure you didn't. And for the record, I did give you all a chance. I gave you a chance when I came home with you all to the manor. Any of you could have come clean and told me or given me this explanation that you keep banging on about but you didn't! Yes, I would have been mad at first but at the very least I would have respected you all for telling me! I could have given Father a real chance after knowing all of the facts but no! You all had to keep it from me and let me believe that we were some lovely happy family. Well what a joke that is!", Sofia exclaimed.
"SOFIA, JUST LISTEN TO ME PLEASE!", Blaise shouted.
"NO, YOU SEE I'M TOO SELFISH AND SO FAR UP MY OWN ARSE THAT I WON'T LISTEN BECAUSE I WASN'T AWARE THAT PEOPLE MADE MISTAKES!", she bellowed back, using Blaise's own words against him.
"WELL IF YOU DIDN'T JUST RUN OFF AND LET US EXPLAIN I WOULDN'T THINK THAT, WOULD I!".
"OH EXCUSE ME FOR NOT WANTING TO STAY IN A HOUSE FULL OF LIARS AND DEATH EATERS!".
"IT'S NOT HIS FAULT HE WAS RAISED THAT WAY! AFTER HE LOST HIS GRANDMOTHER HIS FATHER PUSHED HIM INTO IT, WHEN HE MET MOTHER HE WANTED OUT BUT HE COULDN'T SO HE WENT TO DUMBLEDORE! SNAPE WASN'T THE ONLY SPY IN VOLDEMORT'S RANKS YOU KNOW!".
"THAT'S THE BIGGEST LOAD OF BULL SHIT I'VE EVER HEARD! IF HE DIDN'T LIKE IT THEN WHY THE HELL ARE HIS ROBES HANGING PRIDE OF PLACE IN THAT ROOM?".
"BECAUSE IT'S CURSED! NO MATTER HOW HARD HE TRIED HE COULD NOT GET RID OF THAT ROOM! IT'S BEEN THERE SINCE HIS OTHER GRANDFATHER MADE IT! HE'S TRIED BLOWING IT UP, GETTING RID OF EVERYTHING IN IT BUT HE CAN'T!".
Sofia stopped at this and the room went deathly silent. In a way she didn't want to believe Blaise because that would mean she had made a terrible mistake but she could tell by the look in his eyes that he wasn't lying. She knew him like the back of her hand and she knew that his words were the truth.
"We tried to tell you but you just left", Blaise said softly.
"But why did you all lie? You said that all of you had been neutral during the war", Sofia asked confused.
"We were, Dad didn't want any part in it at all but the only way he could get out of You Know Who's ranks alive was to pass information to Dumbledore. Mum and I did nothing, we didn't support anyone. I know you of all people will see that as a coward’s way out but it's the truth".
"But. Oh God, what have I done? I told him I hated him", Sofia whispered as tears ran down her cheeks.
"Oh Sofia", Blaise started as he pulled his sister into a hug, "he understands, we all do".
Blaise stroked Sofia's jet black hair that was the exact same as his as she cried into his chest.
"Shhhh, come on, you don't want us all to think you’re a sissy now do you?", he said, trying to cheer his twin up.
"You really do have a way with words", she laughed through her tears.
Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Draco, who was staring at the scene before him. It was then that Sofia realised that she had one more apology to make.
"Draco, I'm really sorry. I shouldn't have said what I did. I-It was wrong and, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to but it just came out. I didn't know what I was saying, my mouth was just spewing out words and I couldn't stop an-".
"Has anyone ever told you how much you can blabber on sometimes?", Draco interrupted as he smirked at Sofia.
Her face broke out into a huge grin and she ran to Draco who caught her in his arms, lifted her up and hugged her to his chest.
"It's good to have you back", he whispered.
"It's good to be back", she replied as she leaned in and kissed him.
"Mate, that's my sister! Go and do your business elsewhere!", Blaise shouted, horrified at the sight of his best friend and twin.
The two laughed as Draco put her back on her feet but Sofia's happiness was short lived.
"Blaise, what shall I do?" she whispered.
"He's our Father, just show him you still love him", Blaise smiled.
With that, Sofia set off to the Headmistress's office to see if she could go home next weekend. She had to see her Father and she had to do so as soon as she could.
Well that's chapter 14! I really hope you all liked it! Please leave a review to let me know what you think of it, I love reading your thoughts and opinions on the chapters :) Chapter 15 will be coming soon, please keep reading and reviewing! MM :)
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