When Sofia arrived back at school that Sunday evening nothing could have wiped the smile off her face. She had spent an amazing weekend with her mother and even her father at some points too. Pansy and Daphne were insanely jealous of the fact that she had been to Madame Zulo's spa and Blaise was not impressed that Sofia had been treated to all manner of things.
"You got new robes? AND shoes?", he exclaimed as Sofia showed the girls the things her Mum had purchased for her.
"Yepp", Sofia replied, "And wait until you smell this perfume, Pans".
"Perfume too? What else did you get?!", Blaise continued to shout.
"Well, I got some new books too but I didn't think any of you would be really interested in them", Sofia continued to ramble.
"Wh -what? Well where's my mine!".
The group snickered at Blaise. He often joked about Sofia being 'infantile' because of her petite stature but if anyone was infantile in that relationship, it was most definitley Blaise.
"I don't know, ask Mum and Dad".
"You mean they didn't get me anything?".
A look of aghast adorned his face. If they were honest, the rest of the group, minus Sofia, understood fully where Blaise was coming from. They had all been raised the same; spoilt and rich but with graciously good manners and etiquette. However, even with this understanding, they couldn't help but to laugh at Blaise.
"Ignore him, he's just upset he's not the favourite sibling anymore", Draco smirked as he leaned back on the sofa with Sofia tucked neatly into his arms.
"Shut up, Draco. At least I have a sibling!", Blaise raged.
"Ouch. You know that was such a good one. It really did pull at my heart strings. Seriously, I'm trying to hold back the tears here", Draco retaliated as his voice dripped with sarcasm.
Blaise only huffed as it was more than probable that he would spit something out even worse than what he had just said if he opened his mouth again. After a minute of waiting for anything else to happen, the Slytherins went back to their activities; Pansy and Daphne were admiring the products Sofia had brought them from the spa, Blaise was brooding in the arm charm and the rest of the boys were sat on the floor having a game of exploding snap. On the green leather couch, Draco lounged with his arm wrapped lovingly around Sofia.
"I take it you had a good weekend then", he smiled as he tenderly moved a piece of her ebony hair from her face and tucked it behind her ear.
It was little things like that which made Sofia melt. His small gestures were what showed her how much Draco cared. It also helped that whenever her skin was in contact with his, she felt like she was on fire. Her cheeks blushed and she was sure it spread throughout her body. Draco elicited a reaction in her like no one ever had, and she loved it.
"It was great! I had such a good time with both my parents actually. Father took me to this little chinese place on the north side of Diagon Alley, you should see it, Draco, it's wonderful".
Draco smiled at her enthusiasm. She remembered Blaise telling him how nervous Sofia had been around them all when she had first come home to Zabini Manor, but she had quickly fitted into their lives and grown very comfortable with them very fast. Draco only hoped that this would be the case when she spent her life with him.
"I'm glad you had a nice time and made up with your Father", Draco said.
"Me too. It took a while but we got there", beamed.
As the night grew on, the couple soon found that they were the last students in the common room but they didn't care, the could have stayed wrapped in each others arms all night. During a comfortable silence that they had slipped into, Draco noticed a look of worry pass Sofia's face.
"Just watching you is truly amazing you know", Draco continued as Sofia looked at him confused, "You wear so many emotions on that pretty face of yours. Come on, what's wrong?".
"Oh it's nothing", Sofia replied as she tried to brush off Draco's question.
"It's obviously something is wrong if it's making you look like that. You can tell me anything you know", Draco said as stroked her cheek with the back of his two fingers.
Deciding that Draco was right, she began to talk. She just hoped that she wouldn't hear something she didn't want to.
"It's just, I keep wondering, w- would you feel the same way about me if, if I still looked the same?".
Sofia looked anywhere but at Draco while she asked this and she twisted her hands nervously in her lap. Draco was shocked. He had expected her to say something about their looming nuptuals, not this. He had never imagined he would ever see her looking so vulnerable, she was the bravest person he knew after all, and it saddened him a little to see how insecure she seemed to be about herself.
"So, this about the way you look?", Draco asked, he wanted to make sure he was answering the right question before he responded to her.
"Er, sort of, I don't know. I just can't help but to think that we wouldn't be the same if I still looked how I used to or if I still had my old name", she rushed.
She hated talking about her emotions to anyone, but Draco had a way of getting you to open up to him, even if it did make her slightly nervous.
"Ah, I see. You think that I wouldn't want to be with you if you still looked like Hermione Granger and was called that also. Interesting".
"What's so interesting?", Sofia asked curiously.
It was the first time she had looked at Draco since she had started talking. It made him chortle inside that it was her curiosity and thirst for knowing everything that had eventually made her make eye contact with him.
"I don't know if you realised but Hermione Granger and Sofia Zabini are exactly the same person", Draco whispered with false glee, as if he had just told her the world's biggest secret.
As Sofia still looked on confused, Draco elaborated on his words.
"Believe it or not, you're still exactly the same as you were before. You're an insufferable know-it-all who spends most of her free time with her nose in a book and you have a temper which could rival McGonagall. Yeah, you don't look the same and if I'm honest you do look better than you used to, but you weren't exactly ugly before either. In fact, after the Yule Ball a lot of lads had their eye on you", Draco smirked at his last words.
"Oh", Sofia replied shocked, "Wait, but if I'm still the same, why do you like me? You never liked me before?".
"I never really disliked you. You only annoyed me because you beat me at all the tests we had. If anything you were quite impressive".
"Well, it didn't seem that way when you were calling me names", Sofia muttered.
Draco had the decency to look guilty at that. He would never forgive himself for targetting her throughout their school years. In all fairness though, how was he supposed to know that she was his future wife?!
"Look, you know I was just doing that to keep up the pretence and I've already told you how sorry I am", Draco said softly as he took her hand in his.
"That still doesn't answer my question though".
"Whether you were still called Hermione or not I would still be with you, whether you look the same or not I would still be with you and whether you act the same or not I would still be with you. Sofia, the only reason I can like you now is because you gave me the chance to. You're actually still quite annoying sometimes and you can be a somewhat psychotic too, but now I know all of the good things about you as well and it's everyone single one of those things that make me love you".
He hadn't planned it. He hadn't meant for it to slip out of his mouth but he couldn't help it. Draco had never said that to anyone before, apart from his mother, and he was surprised at how easy and natural it felt. He might not have meant to say it, but he certainly didn't regret it.
"Wh - I - you love me?", Sofia gasped.
Draco Malfoy smiled as he looked into Sofia's bright blue eyes. Most other boys would have been embarrassed or nervous having just professed their love to someone, but this was Draco Malfoy and Draco Malfoy didn't do nervous.
"Yes, I love you. I love you for you, not who you were before or who you are today, just you. The same you that's been there forever".
Sofia couldn't believe her ears. She never thought for a second that those words would come out of Draco's mouth but now that they had, she didn't think she had ever heard a more beautiful sound. He loved her. He loved her for who she was, not because of what she looked like and he would love her still if she hadn't changed her name.
"I love you too", she whispered.
The words were so quiet, almost inaudible, but Draco heard them. Truth be told, he hadn't expected her to say it back so soon but he was alright with that. He didn't want her to say it if she didn't really feel it but he knew she would never do that. It was this knowledge that made his insides leap with joy. She loved him and she meant it.
The couple leaned in and kissed a tender kiss. It soon turned more passionate as Sofia felt the caress of Draco's tongue on hers. It never lost its softness though and the two felt magical when they pulled apart. Knowing that they didn't really want to leave each other right now, Draco summoned a thick blanket, from the opposite couch, and placed it over himself and Sofia. After more loving kisses and sweet words, Draco and Sofia drifted off into a blissful sleep together both with small smiles on their faces.
"Come on, love birds!", Daphne shouted.
"Wakey, wakey!", Theo hollered.
Upon hearing the noise, Draco and Sofia groggily opened their eyes.
"Alright, we're up!", Draco snapped.
He actually wasn't one for sleeping in late, but he hated beng woken up by anything other than the alarm clock he set himself.
"Well, don't you two look cosy", Pansy smirked.
"Shut it, Pans", Sofia smiled as she lazily threw a pillow towards her friend.
"Wait until Blaise sees this", Greg snickered.
"Until Blaise sees what?".
At hearing her brother's voice, Sofia jumped from the couch and out of Draco's arms, instead standing stock still next to Pansy with a horrified expression adorning her features.
"Until Blaise sees what?", he asked again as he came around the corner to stand in front of the sofa.
It only took one look at Draco still lounging like he didn't have a care in the world and his twin sister's dishevelled hair and yesterday's uniform to figure out what his friend's had been talking about. If that didn't give it way, the look of sheer mortification on Sofia's face did.
"You two! On the couch? Eurgh, that's disusting!", Blaise exclaimed.
The group didn't do well stifling their laughter. Not only was Blaise's face a picture but Sofia's normally pale white skin had tinged red.
"We didn't do anything!", she defended, "We just slept!".
"Yeah, together. Eurgh, you know this is my common room too! You could have gone somewhere a little more private. What if I had seen you?".
Blaise's eyeballs almost bulged out of his head at his own statement.
"There was nothing to see! We didn't do anything! Draco, your input would be appreciated!", Sofia demanded as she rounded on him.
Draco smirked at Blaise as he knew this would wind him up to no end but after seeing the glare Sofia was throwing at him, he swiftly changed tactics.
"Don't get your wand in a knot, mate. I have bit more class than not to do it on the common room couch".
That seemed to satisfy Blaise, although he still had a fowl look across his face. It was almost as if he had just eaten something rather unpleasant.
As Draco came to sand next to Sofia, she looked up at him to say thank you but as soon as her eyes hit those stormy grey irises all her memories of last night came. She smiled dreamily as he smirked at her, knowing she was about the exact same thing he was. Draco loved her. Draco loved her. Draco Malfoy loved her! She was on cloud nine and it was clear for everyone to see. Nothing could bring her down now.
"Well, I'm going to go and get ready!", Sofia beamed as she practically skipped up the staircase.
Draco laughed at his girlfriend Pansy walked over to him with a devious smile.
"Are you sure you didn't do anything last night? She certainly has a spring in her step this morning".
"Now, now, Pansy, you know I never kiss and tell".
She chuckled as she knew from his face, rather than his words, that he had not been intimate with Sofia that night. She was left baffled as though, as she couldn't figure out what he had done that had made her wake up so happy. Usually, Sofia was a nightmare in the mornings and only came round after their first lesson of day. 'Well whatever it was worked, at least a don't have to put up with a grouch all morning', Pansy smiled to herself.
Sofia bounded into her dormitory after leaving the group downstairs. All the way through her shower and her morning routine did she have the same smile plastered on her face. There was nothing that could take it away from her. As she finished putting her fresh uniform on, she noticed that an owl was stood at the window. Quickly opening it, she let the bird in out of the cold.
"Well, aren't you beautiful", Sofia cooed as she stroked its grey feathers, "What do you have here?".
Pulling the scroll from the owl's leg, Sofia was surprised to find that the letter was addressed to her. She thought it was most odd as she didn't recognide the owl. Her parents were the only people that really wrote to her and this definitely wasn't their owl. In addition, she didn't recognise the handwriting either. She was sure she would have recognised it had she seen it before because who ever this letter was from had the most impressive penmanship.
Unravelling the scroll with curiosity, Sofia began to read.
I hope this letter has found you well and that you are excelling and behaving at school. I am writing to let you know that your parents, Narcissa and I have begun preparations for yours and Draco's wedding. Your mother has been fretting over writing you this letter for weeks so I have taken the initiative and done it myself as I believe you may appreciate my being upfront about the issue. It has been planned that the ceremony and celebrations afterwards will be held at Zabini Manor, rather than at my ancestral home, as we believe that you would prefer it there. It is also an idea that the two of you wed in the summer, perhaps July or August but that is your choice. So far that is all we are prepared to decide but of course if you do not share these wishes they can easily be rearranged, after all this is your wedding and it should be yours to plan. However, we felt that you may need a little nudge to get things started. Please correspond sooner rather than later as your family are very much anticipating your reply. I would say feel free to write any of your thoughts and opinions in your correspondence but I have no doubts that you will. I hope this is not too much of a shock.
For a second she couldn't breathe. Despite agreeing to marry Draco she hadn't ever thought of the actual wedding itself. She didn't know whether to laugh about the situation or cry. She had to give some credit to Lucius though, she was actually glad it had been him to write this letter as her parents' statements of worry and constant excuses would only annoy her. She just couldn't get the words out of her head though. 'Wedding'. 'July or August'. 'Preparations'. This was all too much. She had to get out of there and clear her head. She needed to be away from everything and everyone that reminded her of her upcoming nuptuals. With that she quickly changed and ran from the dormitory looking for two certain boys.
"What's got her wand in a knot?", frowned Adrian Pucey as Sofia barged past the group of Slytherins and quickly exited the common room.
"I don't know", Blaise said as he and Draco both looked at the now closed portrait hole.
Draco was more than confused. Just twenty minutes ago Sofia had been grinning her face off and skipping around the place in happiness, what he hell had gone so wrong?
"Maybe we should go after her?", Draco asked.
"Or maybe you shouldn't. The girl clearly wants to be alone so let her be. She has enough going on without you two making things worse", said Pansy.
"What do you mean she has enough going on?", Draco questioned.
"Look, just give her some space. If she wants to talk to you she will now leave her alone".
At seeing Draco's crestfallen face Blaise attempted to comfort his friend, "What did I tell you, mate? Absolute psycho. High on life one minute and crazy as hell the next".
Despite their small chuckle, Blaise and Draco couldn't shake the feeling that Pansy knew something they didn't. Little did they know that Pansy had just seen the letter Sofia had received, after she had ran upstairs to see what had caused Sofia's sudden change in mood when she had left the common room. After reading the letter, she knew Sofia would need some time away from them to gather her thoughts.
"I thought I'd find you two here", said Sofia as clambered over the quidditch stands to get to Harry and Ron.
"What are you doing here?", Ron asked with a smile on his face. He had missed his friend so much it hurt so it was nice to have her with them.
Despite her smile, even Ron noticed that something wasn't quite right with the girl in front of him and he was about as in sync with his emotions as a quaffle.
"Come one, what's wrong?", Harry smiled as he put a comforting arm around his best friend.
"Still can't fool you two, huh?".
"Never in your life", Ron said as he came and sat on her other side.
"I just needed some time away from them".
"Is this about your Father?", Harry asked.
Sofia had told Harry and Ron the reason for that awful room in her Manor but she hadn't since seen them to tell them how things had gone with her Father.
"No, I went home at the weekend, as you know. We're alright now", she answered.
"Well, if that's not it, what's wrong? Come on, it's us two. You know you can tell us anything".
She sighed as she spoke the words that she had not wanted to admit out loud.
"I received a letter from Lucius Malfoy this morning, my family and Draco's are currently planning our wedding".
After a moments pause Ron spoke up.
"I see, and how are you feeling?".
"Lost, confused, in a state of utter disbelief I don't even know where to start. I mean it's not like I'm bothered about them making the decisions, in fact I think I prefer it, it's the fact that these decisions are being made at all. I know I agreed to marry Draco but I never envisioned doing the whole wedding thing, I never even stopped to think that it would really happen".
"I hate to say it 'Mione but you knew it would happen some time", Harry tried to reason as softly as he could.
"I know I just - argh it's making me so angry!", Sofia exclaimed, "I feel like I have no control over my life and I know Draco and I are together and we probably would be even without this bethrothal but the fact that I'm practically being thrown into this and not doing things at my own speed is actually making me resent them, even Draco and it's not even his fault! I completely ignored him today because when I looked at him I just saw myself being stood there saying my vows to him but not meaning them because I don't want say them like this and it's making me hate him!".
With that she broke down into tears. Despite their hugs and words of encouragement, Sofia seemed inconsolable but inside she was thankful. Thankful that Harry and Ron were there with her in hour of need just as they always would be.
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