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Chapter 1 : Slytherins donít like Gryffindors
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It was a well known fact that there were only two types of girls in Slytherin. Those destined to become the matriarchs of wealthy pureblood families (or trophy-wives according to the Gryffindors), and those destined to live as hags in a shack.
Zeta Zabini was definitely not the latter. She was by far the prettiest girl at Hogwarts (especially since those stupid part-veela Weasleys graduated). She came from a strong pureblood family. And though her father had had his fair share of wives and sex scandals, this only improved her status in worthy eyes.
“I am so glad those exams are over,” Zeta said as she sat beside the lake one June afternoon.
“Seriously, I swear this year was worse than O.W.Ls last year,” Jessica Avery agreed.
“Yes, well, one more year and we can be rid of this filthy place,” Robert Nott added. His head was resting in Zeta’s lap. They had been dating since fourth year. A perfect match, her father had said when he heard the news.
“Yes, and no more filthy, stinking Gryffindors,” Mark Greengrass shouted out as Rose Weasley, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy passed. This caused the Slytherins to laugh.
“Pretty sure you’re just smelling yourself, Greengrass,” Potter said.
“Nope, I’m pretty sure it’s coming from the abomination that is Weasley and Malfoy,” Nott said as he sat up. Malfoy made for his wand.
“Not worth it Scorp,” Weasley said. “Let’s just leave these bigots alone.” Zeta burst out laughing.
“Seriously, Weasley, that’s the best you can do?” she said.
“Come on, boys,” Weasley said ignoring Zeta. They walked away as Nott and Greengrass threw a few more snide remarks out. Zeta watched as Scorpius took Weasley’s hand in his.
“Ugh, talk about a disappointment,” Jessica said as she followed Zeta’s eyes to Malfoy. “I mean such good genes going to waste.” Scorpius Malfoy had once been a part of their gang. Zeta’s best friend in fact. But that was before school. Before Hogwarts, where to the shock and surprise of everyone including himself, Scorpius was sorted into Gryffindor. That same year, he befriended, of all people, Albus Potter and in fifth year, he was caught snogging Rose Weasley in a broom cupboard on the third floor. Needless to say, Zeta hadn’t spoken to Malfoy since that first train ride to Hogwarts.
“Well, it runs in the family,” Nott said as he lay back down.
“What are you talking about?” Zeta stared at him in disbelief. “Draco Malfoy has created one of the largest Quidditch empires in the world. I mean he owns a team in pretty much every country, not to mention the three he owns in England alone.” Zeta suspected that this was the reason the Weasleys had not seriously harmed Malfoy when they found out he was dating their daughter. He could provide them with amazing seats to just about any game.
“I wasn’t referring to that,” Nott said. “My granddad says that the Malfoys are good for nothing cowards who always squirm their way out of difficult situations.” Zeta was the only one in the group who didn’t have former Death Eater relatives. She always suspected that if Jessica weren’t his first cousin, Nott would be dating her because she came from an even “better” line.
“You didn’t seem to have a problem with them when they were getting you those amazing tickets,” Jessica chimed in.
“Use ‘em till they are no good for you, lesson number one from dad,” Nott said.
“Whatever,” Zeta said. “I’m bored and tired of talking about Malfoy. Let’s go get dinner.”
She crossed the barrier back into the Muggle station and saw Parker waiting for her as usual. She had stopped hoping after second year that her father would actually be there to greet her after so many months away. It wasn’t like he ever took her to the train in the first place.
“Hello, Miss Zabini.” Parker took her trunk from her and began loading it in the back of a sleek black car.
“Hello, Parker,” she said as she watched a dad help his little girl get into a big van.
“How was school, Miss?” Parker now held the car door open for her.
“The same as usual, I suppose,” she replied and got in. Parker closed her door and headed to the driver’s seat. Parker had been Blaise Zabini’s personal assistant for as long as Zeta could remember. It was always Parker who performed the duties typically assigned to a parent.
“Are you going to miss it after this next year?” Parker looked at her in the review mirror.
“Only in the sense that I will have to find a new escape from home.” Parker gave her a sad smile before starting the car.
Within minutes they were sitting the drive of Zabini Mansion. Zeta turned to face the enormous house that she called home. She would have said it was Pemberley straight out of Jane Austen, if she had known who Jane Austen was.
She stared warily at the door.
“Don’t worry, Miss, Mrs. Zabini is currently at some gala event Witch Weekly is throwing. We don’t expect her until late.” Parker levitated her trunk inside. Mrs. Zabini was actually the ninth person to officially hold that title (and there were about six mistresses who liked to think that they had a claim on it as well). The current Mrs. Zabini was Zeta’s worst nightmare. She was a meddler who really didn’t like having a reminder of her husband’s past wives in the form of Zeta. Needless to say, they hadn’t hit it off when Zeta had returned last summer to discover that she had a new stepmom. Zeta couldn’t wait for Mrs. Number Nine to suffer the same fate as those before her.
Blaise Zabini had several children. And probably several more he didn’t know about. But Zeta was the only one that lived with him and that was only because her mother had died before Blaise had the opportunity to move on. She was wife number one.
“When will father be returning?” Zeta asked as she followed Parker inside.
“He’s in the study and asked not to be disturbed. Some important business something or another,” Parker said with an apologetic smile. “I’ll send the house elf up to unpack your trunk.” Parker vanished the thing to her room.
“Thank you, Parker,” Zeta said with a sigh.
She headed slowly up to her room taking in the elegance of the mansion as she went.
She hated this place. It was too pretentious, though she’d never admit that in front of her friends. Every time she returned, she couldn’t help but wonder what her life would be like if her mother hadn’t died when she was barely one. She had no doubt that she wouldn’t be living in the Zabini Mansion. On lonely nights (which happened often when she was home for the holidays), she liked to envision the home her and her mother would live in. It was always still grand (Zeta did after all inherit her father’s love of material things) but it was cozier, warmer.
In her room, Zeta found her trunk, still packed. Mrs. Number Nine would have had a fit, but Zeta merely walked around the thing and sunk into her bed. The house elf came in a few minutes later. She gave her apologies but otherwise didn’t speak to Zeta. The house elf used to attempt conversation but Mrs. Number Nine was rather strict about the servants knowing their place. Zeta was pretty sure that she would have fired Parker if it weren’t for the fact that her father thought the man irreplaceable.
The first few weeks of the summer holiday passed without much ado. Jessica’s family had left for Brazil just days after the term ended and so Zeta spent her days with Robert or alone. Always trying to avoid her father and Mrs. Number Nine. It was surprisingly easy as neither made many appearances in the Zabini Mansion and rarely were they there at the same time. Zeta took this as a sign that hopefully Number Nine would soon be gone.
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