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Well here it finally is! I'm so sorry that this has taken so long but I'm afraid exams had to be a priority :( BUT they're now finished and I have a whole 4 months off to write! Please enjoy!
 








The bitter January air hit Sofia’s skin like a razor slashing through her flesh as she disapparated from Hogwarts to Zabini Manor. She had been given permission from Professor McGonagall to return home for the weekend and she had a sneaky feeling that the Headmistress knew why. Surprisingly, Sofia hadn’t needed to use the many arguments she had prepared in her head to convince her professor to allow her to go home but now she was here she almost wished that McGonagall had said no. She felt sick as she trekked up the huge driveway to her home. What if her parents were mad at her? What was she going to say to them? How was her Father going to react to what she had to say to him?

The questions buzzed in her head as she walked through the grand doors and into the manor but the atmosphere silenced them. It was quiet. Too quiet, even for a place as big as Zabini Manor. The air seemed to hang with sadness, almost like there was no life in her home. For a few minutes, Sofia just stood there frozen. She couldn’t feel the warmth and happiness she normally felt at home and it was beginning to scare her. As she slowly made her way across the foyer, she began to think that no one was in but then she heard it. A tiny noise in the distance sounded and she walked towards its source. Her ears guided her to her Father’s study and she stopped outside. The last time she was in here hadn’t gone down all that well and the memory of it was filling her with trepidation but, as the sound of glasses clinking rang into the dismal air again, she mustered up her Gryffindor courage.

Sofia opened the door soundlessly and peered into the study. Inside, she saw her Father as she had never seen him before. His hair was uncharacteristically out of its pristine place and his tanned skin looked pale and sallow. His tie hung limply around his neck and the top buttons of his grey shirt were scruffily undone. In his left hand he held a small glass of firewhisky and in his right hand was a photo. Sofia could place a good sized wager on the fact that the photo was of her but as she saw her Father’s eyes all thoughts of bets flew from her mind.

They were the saddest eyes she had ever seen. The golden sparkles that were once flecked around her Father’s pupils had gone. The only thing that shone in them was a thin layer of unshed tears. His chocolate irises no longer held pride, happiness or love. Instead, they were laced with sorrow regret and guilt all of which seemed to be held together by the purple bags that circled around them. It was clear to anyone who saw Andre Zabini that this man was broken.

As Andre envisioned a dreadful life without his only daughter, he raised the crystal glass to his lips.

"I don’t really think that’s the answer, do you?".

The glass shattered on the wooden floor as Andre jumped in fright. He had been so engrossed in imagining his daughter never coming home that he hadn’t even seen her arrive but when he did he jumped out of his seat and flew over to her.

"Oh, Sofia. You’re here, you’re back", he gasped.

His smile was short lived though as he saw the evident feeling of betrayal on Sofia’s beautiful face.

"I mean, well, I’m guessing you want to talk?".

Sofia sat down on the black sofa that was in the corner of the room as she took off her cobalt coat and looked at her Father.

"Why did you lie to me?" Sofia asked as her eyes bored into her Father’s.

Andre looked down to his feet as the words had tumbled out of Sofia’s mouth. He shouldn’t have been so naïve to think that Sofia would had forgiven him already when he hadn’t even given her an explanation, however, the disdainful look in her eyes hurt him beyond repair.

"I- I was ashamed", he croaked.

"Is that it? Is that all you’re going to say?" Sofia asked disbelievingly.

"It’s all I can say. Sofia, you stood up for everything that is right in this world and you risked your life doing so. I couldn’t fathom for one minute how to tell you that I had once been part of the very reason you almost died and with the very people that nearly killed you".

"But, I’m your daughter. Don’t you think I deserved the truth?!".

"Yes, more than anyone, yes. But no matter how much I tried, no matter how much this annoying voice in my head kept telling me that you’ll find out eventually I just couldn’t do it".

Sofia looked at her Father outraged. She knew that he hadn’t willingly joined the Death Eaters that he had never wanted part of it and it was her judgment on him of that that had been her terrible mistake. However, the fact that he had essentially lied to her was eating her away.

"I know you were pushed into it, I know why that room is there and I know you did everything you could to get out", Sofia said softly, "but I just can’t understand why you lied. I fought for fairness and equality in this world and right now you’re not being fair. Obviously you’re ashamed, I get it, but that isn’t a good enough reason to lie to me".

Andre quickly deduced that Blaise must have told her about his past and he quickly realised that Sofia had forgiven him for the misdemeanours of his life that he couldn’t have helped but that was not why she was here. Sofia was not here to tell him that his past didn’t matter now she knew the truth. She was here because he had hurt her by lying and she wanted answers.

"I don’t know what I can say", he whispered.

"For the sake of Merlin! YOU ARE MEANT TO BE MY FATHER-"

"I AM YOUR FATHER!"

"THEN TELL ME THE TRUTH!"

He hadn’t meant to shout but the sound of Sofia implying that he was no Father of hers affected him in a way that no words ever had. Knowing that his daughter would leave if he didn’t open his mouth, he swallowed his pride and he told her what she wanted to know.

"Sofia, I’ve always been ashamed of my past and that I just didn’t have the courage to say no but when I found out who you were, what you had done and achieved… I was so proud but at the same time it my made my shame even more excruciating. You, my little girl, had not only had the courage to do what I didn’t but you had the courage to go out there and defeat the evil that I was a part of. Whether it was by choice or not is irrelevant, I was still part of it. I was only just coping as it was but to tell you the truth about what I had done, well, I don’t think I could have handled the shame then. It would have killed me".

"But you know me, you know that I would have understood!", Sofia cried as tears leaked down her porcelain skin.

"I know but I couldn’t stand the thought of losing you. We had only just got you back. Sofia, you and Blaise are our entire world. Without you our lives have never been whole and then when we got you back, I didn’t want to ruin it all again. It would’ve destroyed your Mother and you and Blaise became so close so fast I didn’t want to do anything to threaten that. I know you might see that as selfish but I just- I didn’t want to hurt you, any of you".

Sofia watched as the man in front of her pleaded with his eyes for her to understand. Tears poured down his face as he tried his best to be honest with her. As she watched her Father struggle not to break down in front of her, she decided that his best was enough. His actions still hurt and he had created a stain on their relationship that could not be removed but she understood. She understood that he was not a liar, he just wanted to protect his family. He wanted to protect her from any pain he might have caused, even if his protection did end up reaping the opposite consequences.

As she stood up, she took his hand in hers and squeezed it.

"I’m still not happy with what you did, but I think I can understand why you didn’t tell me".

A watery smile graced Andre’s features as he knew that this was Sofia’s way of telling him she forgave him.

"You know, you truly have a heart of gold", he said as he placed a loving hand on Sofia’s face, "I’m so sorry for causing you this pain, angel".

"I know", Sofia smiled.

With that, Father and daughter hugged as they knew that everything would be alright.

*

The Slytherins had decided to keep away from the cold that Saturday and stayed in the warmth of their common room. Crabbe and Goyle guffawed as they played exploding snap, Adrian and Theo were engrossed in a game of chess and Pansy and Daphne were entranced by the latest celebrity gossip inside ‘Witch Weekly’. Draco and Blaise lounged on the green leather sofa as the troubles of the week washed away from them.

"Have you heard from her?", Draco asked Blaise.

"Not yet, I’m hoping either her or my Father will write soon", Blaise replied, "I wonder how they’re getting on?".

"You mean you’re wondering if Sofia hasn’t turned you Father into a tea cosy after hexing him to within an inch of his life".

The two shared a laughed as they knew that this could be a very real possibility. Sofia may appear sweet and calm but her temper was a force to be reckoned with when something set her off. Blaise wasn’t at all unwilling to say that his sister scared him to death when she was angry.

"So, you two discussed any wedding plans yet?", Blaise smirked, knowing that this was a sore subject.

"Shut your face!", Draco sighed as he threw a cushion in Blaise’s face.

"Come on, don’t get your wand in a knot! It’s not like it isn’t going to happen", Blaise smiled.

"I know", muttered Draco as a grim expression set on his face.

"What’s up? Don’t you want it to happen?".

"It’s not that, I’m just not sure she wants it to happen. I mean, she was brought up by muggles. To her arranged marriages are just preposterous! They aren’t common like they are to us. What if she backs out or spends her life regretting it?".

Blaise could see that this was something Draco had been aching to get off his chest for a long time and it actually pained him a little to see him in such turmoil.

"Look, I’m not going to pretend I understand and Sofia’s that much of a psycho sometimes it’s impossible to guess what she’s feeling", Blaise said as the boys sniggered at his words, "but it’s not like you two aren’t seeing each other. You both like each other, maybe even love each other, so what’s the matter? We can all see that the pair of you are made for each other, you’d probably end up getting married anyway!".

"I suppose you’re right", Draco smiled.

"I’m Blaise Zabini, I’m always right", Blaise joked.

"Err, I think you’ll find that’s your sister. Honestly, I’ve never met anyone as annoyingly right all the time!", Draco said exasperatedly.

"Try living with her! You think she’s bad here you want to see her at home! Seriously, it’s like living with a mad woman. One minute she’s high on life and the next minute she’s chasing you around the house trying to set you on fire or turn you into a garden gnome!".

Draco couldn’t contain himself as he burst into laughter at the astounded look on Blaise’s face and the image of Sofia trying to curse Blaise whilst running through the halls of Zabini Manor.

"You can laugh all you want, mate, just remember it will be my turn to laugh when she’s living with you".

Blaise smirked as Draco’s face fell and he realised one thing that he had over Draco. Blaise may have to put up with his sister’s craziness now but Draco had to put up with it for the rest of his life once they were married.


‘Oh, this will be fun’.


*

Sofia ran up the stairs after her Father had held in her in arms and told her that her Mother needed to see her. She knew that her Mother would have been upset when she left but nothing could have prepared her for what he Father had said. Sofia had never felt so guilty in her life when she was told of her Mother’s heartbreak. The two had grown as close as Mother and daughter could get while Sofia had been at Zabini Manor and it saddened her knowing how much her actions had hurt the woman who she loved the most in the world.

She panted for breath as she reached her parents’ suite and, unlike her cautious entrance into her Father’s study, she burst through the door shouting for her Mother.

"Mum! Mum!".

Seline scrabbled from underneath the silk duvet as she heard her daughter’s urgent calls. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Sofia was there right in front of her. Just when she had lost all hope, her Sofia had come home.

"Mum", Sofia breathed, as she dived onto the huge bed and into her Mother’s arms.

"Sofia! Oh, you’re back! My little girl, you’re here", Seline cried as she held her daughter close to her body, just as she had wanted to days ago in the tearoom.

"I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have left without speaking to you. I didn’t mean to upset you, I’m so sorry, Mum".

"Oh, hush now. You’re back and that’s all that matters", Seline smiled as she laid her head atop of Sofia’s and stroked her jet black hair.

"I missed you", Sofia whispered.

"I missed you too, honey. More than you could possibly understand".

"I think I can. I felt like I’d lost my right arm without talking to you".

It was the truth. Amidst all of her determination to stay away from her Father and Blaise, she had always felt guilty about shutting out her Mother too. Her Mother didn’t deserve it, Sofia knew that she wouldn’t have told her simply because it wasn’t her place, but Sofia thought that she would have been the one to persuade her to come back home. She had missed her so much that it had physically hurt but now she was here that pain had ceased. She breathed in the familiar smell of her Mother’s perfume as she held her close and Seline noticed when she held her tighter.

"You really have missed me, haven’t you".

It wasn’t a question but a statement acknowledging that they truly had missed each other just as equally.

"Of course I have. You’re my Mum".

Those three words were enough to make Seline Zabini’s heart swell with joy. Of course she had always been Sofia’s mother but to hear her say those words made her feel on top of the world. With a new rush of excitement she looked back down to her daughter.

"Come on then, seeing as you’ve managed to persuade your Headmistress to let you come home, what shall we do?".

"I just want to say here", Sofia replied as she cuddled to her mother and got comfortable under the duvet.

Seline’s heart melted as her daughter expressed her wishes to clearly stay as close to her Mother as possible. She remembered Blaise often crawling into her bed when he had come home after sleeping at a friend’s house or had a nightmare when he was little and it always saddened her that she would never be able to comfort Sofia in that way. How wrong she had been for here was her daughter, clinging to her as if her life depended on it, just wanting the same love and affection that Blaise had wanted when he was just a small boy.

"Okay, we’ll stay right here just as you wish", Seline beamed, "but tomorrow we’ll have a big girly day. Shopping, lunch maybe even the new spa that’s opened. What do you think?".

"I’d like that", Sofia replied softly.

It was then that Seline noticed her daughter was swiftly falling asleep. She smiled as she held her sleeping daughter in her arms, trying to remember a more peaceful moment in her entire life. But she could find none, in fact, the only thing she did find was that if she could stay in this moment forever she most certainly would. Just her and her baby, back in her arms where she belonged.
 








I really hope you liked it! Please leave me a review and let me know what you think. I really do appreciate it when you do and I always reply :) Until the next chapter (which will be coming VERY soon!), MM xx
 

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