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Chapter 7 : Chapter Seven: Home
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The scarlett steam train gleamed as brightly as it did on the day Sofia first saw it. However, this time she didn't feel the excitement that had been present every time she had seen it since. Unlike her previous years, she was to board the Hogwarts Express with her brother not her friends. She had seen Harry, Ron and Ginny on the platform before getting on the train but she was met with a glare from Ron and ignorance from Harry. Ginny provided her with some small comfort though as she flashed her a smile before loading her trunk. This year was going to be very different and as she sat in the carriage with Blaise and his friends, the nerves of what was to come only ate away at her more.
"You know, you'd think they would get bored of walking past and staring at you through the window", commented an irritated Pansy.
"I know it's like you're some sort of celebrity", added Daphne.
"Well, she did help to save the wizarding world and has now been outed as a Zabini", said Theo.
"Still, people don't have to stare and make her uncomfortable everywhere she goes".
Pansy's words were very true. Sofia did feel uncomfortable. Everyone seemed to want to get a glimpse of her and it made her nerves soar even higher. To her surprise, it was Malfoy who had the initiative to get up and close the blinds on the windows of the carriage. She could not bring herself to thank him though.
"So, are you nervous to be resorted?", questioned Theo.
Sofia had learnt that Theodore Nott was a very outgoing person and, despite old opinions, very easy to get along with.
"Extremely. No offence to you guys but I just can't see myself in any other house. Gryffindor has been my home for as long as I have been here and I love it", Sofia replied.
"What about Potter and Weasley though? I thought they weren't speaking to you?".
Sofia had also learnt that Adrian Pucey liked to put his foot in it and had a knack of making situations awkward. Thankfully, Blaise broke the tension that had engulfed the carriage and asked Sofia how she would be getting to the castle.
"Thankfully I don't have to go up with the first years, but I do have to wait for them and enter the hall with them. It's going to be mortifying".
"Just pretend it's your first day again. You shouldn't have a problem with that", Blaise smiled.
Sofia understood this to be one of his jokes about her height and threw a chocolate frog at his face.
"You better hope that I'm not in your house, or I'll make your life hell", she threatened.
Walking into the Great Hall had to have been one of the most embarrassing experiences of Sofia's life. Not only was she with a group of children who were 7 years younger than her but her brother and Theo had been right. She did blend in. The majority of the first years were of a similar size to her. It was excruciating to watch Blaise and Theo's faces alive with laughter at her expense. At least Professor Flitwick was smaller than her. As new deputy head, he was leading Sofia and the first years down to the front of the hall where they waited to be sorted.
As her last name began with Z, Sofia was the last to be called. She distinctly remembered being nervous but excited the first time the sorting hat had been placed on her head but this time all she felt was fear. She looked out over the crowd of students and saw Ron and Harry looking at her with interest. She knew what they were thinking. This would tell them if she was the same inside as she had claimed. If she was, there was no doubt she would be put back in Gryffindor. If she wasn't reunited with her old house, they would think she had turned bad and they would hate her even more.
"It's good to see you again Miss Granger or should I say Zabini. Yes, yes you have accepted your true name and I can see the brilliance that is waiting to unfold. Your bravery and loyalty are still present I see but you have the blood of a Zabini and still such a brilliant mind, there's no doubt about that. Hmm, a difficult choice I must admit but I can see only one option for you". The sorting hat paused and to Sofia it felt like hours but just a second later the sound of its voice shouted out to the room...
She immediately looked over to her old friend and ex boyfriend. Harry was white with shock and Ron looked like he had never seen something so vile. If it were not for the hundreds of eyes looking at her she would have cried. She could hear the sound of the Slytherin's clapping and cheering but it was quiet compared to the fast beating of her heart that pounded in her ears. She sat down next to Blaise who put his arm around her, trying to comfort her as best as he could. He knew she had wanted to stay in Gryffindor and he knew that this would only push Potter and Weasley further away from her. He had seen the look on their faces when the sorting hat had shouted Slytherin and it had sickened him to see their reactions, especially Weasley's. So much for Gryffindor loyalty, they were just a bunch of pig headed hypocrites.
During the feast, Blaise and his friends tried to get Sofia to eat something and join in with their conversation but she merely pushed her food around her plate and didn't utter a single word. Heading back to Slytherin House, Blaise had had to grab hold of her as she almost wondered in the direction of Gryffindor Tower. It seemed as if she was on auto pilot.
As Sofia stepped through the portrait of a silver serpent, she couldn't help but feel shivers run up her spine. It was cold in the Slytherin common, not warm like in Gryffindor's. The carpet was green, not like the red in her old commn room. The sofas and chairs were not soft and squishy as in Gryffindor but dark green leather with silver stitching. The mantle around the fire and the small tables around the room were black marble, not the cherry wood she had seen so many times up in her old tower. She would never get used to this. This did not feel like home. This wasn't her home. Her home was up in Gryffindor Tower with her friends. She soon came back to reality with this thought though. They were not her friends anymore. In fact, she could place a good sized wager on the belief that the whole of Gryffindor probably hated her now. Their Gryffindor Princess had turned dark and the Golden Trio was no more. Her life at Hogwarts was never going to be the same and for the first time since she was 11, she did not want to be here. She wanted to go home. Her real home where her parents were. The home where she was loved and where she belonged as Hogwarts was no longer that. Hogwarts was not her home.
With the help of Pansy and Daphne, Blaise forced Sofia to come down to breakfast the next morning. Classes started today and he worried for his twin. He knew people would have some things to say to her and he wanted her to have a least some energy to take them on.
"So, Sofia, what classes have you got?", Pansy asked after their timetables had been handed out.
"Advanced Defense Againt the Dark Arts, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Astronomy, Advanced Transfiguration, Advanced Charms, History of Magic and Advanced Potions", Sofia replied monotonously.
"Really? Oh look, I'm in your Charms and Daphne is in your Transfiguration".
Sofia just smiled, she didn't feel like talking. She just wanted to be alone. Blaise looked on at her worriedly. He had scanned all of his friends' timetables and figured that Sofia was alone in Defense, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy and History of Magic; all of which she had today. Either Pansy or Daphne were with her in Charms and Transfiguration and the only one to look out for her in Potions was Draco. The rest of her classes he had with her. He just hoped that Potter and Weasley were not in any of the lessons where he and his friends weren't. He doubted it though, surely the two dimwits would not be in advanced classes.
Blaise could not have been more wrong. Sofia entered the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom to be met with a glare from none other than Ronald Weasley. She quickly seated herself at the back of the classroom alone and waited for instructions from their new Professor, Professor Larkin. She tried her best to drown herself in her work but she couldn't ignore the constant stares and the horrible remarks that were being thrown her way during the lesson. She was the first to finish her work and went to the front to hand it in to Professor Larkin. As she went to sit back down she was not met with her stool as she had expected but the cold hard floor. Lavender Brown had quickly swiped it from beneath her as she was about to sit. The whole class roared with laughter and Sofia was nearly brought to tears. It was not just the Gryffindors who had turned their back on her but the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs too. On her way out, she was barged to the side and shoved into the wall and doorway by most of the students. The scathing comment that came from Ron was worse than the physical pain though.
"Traitor", he had said, as he walked passed her out of the classroom.
The rest of her lessons passed much the same. In Ancient Runes, students had thrown paper balls at her, performed trip jinxes on her when she was walking around the classroom and whispered spiteful words whenever she was near. Arithmancy saw the effects of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes Itching Powder as Romilda Vain had thrown it at her when Professor Vector wasn't looking. The fact that he had told her she may have an infected rash only added to her humilation. History of Magic once again brought the return of Harry and Ron. She was still itching slightly and Ron smirked.
"What's up, all those Slytherin scumbags getting under your skin or have you just caught one of their diseases?".
Parvati Patil snorted with laughter at this and the rest of the class soon joined in. Harry just acted as if he hadn't seen or heard anything.
Sofia didn't go to dinner after classes finished. Instead she ran all the way to the Slytherin common room with tears streaming down her face. She wasn't even looking where she was going and soon crashed into something solid and hard. After landing on the floor for the 100th time that day she cried even harder.
"Sofia, what's wrong?".
She looked up to be met with concerned grey eyes, the eyes of Draco Malfoy. She did not want to cry in front of him but she just couldn't stop. Draco's eyes scanned Sofia's body. Her skin was bright red in most places, she had some bruises on her arms and her eyes were puffy and blood shot.
"Who did this to you?", he asked.
"Everyone". She didn't know why she replied but she did and she couldn't stop herself. "Everyone kept tripping me up and laughing at me. Lavender pulled my chair from under me, Romilda Vain threw itching powder all over me and Ron called me a traitor and asked if I was diseased!", she cried inbetween her constant sobs. "And they all just laughed, everyone. It was horrible". With that she broke down completely.
Draco was angry. Angry at how everyone had treated her so horribly after everything she had done to save their world. Angry at how people showed so little respect to his best friend's twin. Angry that such a strong and fearless girl had been reduced to this. He felt like throttling every single one of them but he could not leave Sofia. She was still curled into a crying heap on the floor. He tried to get her to stand up and walk with him but it was as if she was paralysed. So, he did the only thing he could. He picked her up and carried her bridal style to the common room. Upon entering, he laid her on the couch and sat so her head rested on his thigh. He was going to leave her and sit on the arm chair but she would not let go of his arm and so he waited for his friends to return from dinner as she drifted off to sleep.
Blaise was frantic as he entered the common room. Sofia had not been at lunch or dinner and he had no idea where she was. Seeing the back of Draco's head leaning against the top of the sofa he called out to him.
"Mate, have you seen Sofia? I can't find her an-".
"Shhh!", Draco reprimanded whilst he pointed his finger down to where he sat.
Blaise walked around the sofa and saw his sister lying on the couch, with her head resting on Draco, fast asleep. Just like Draco, he too noticed the bruises and the blotches of red on her skin. The tear tracks were also still visible on her cheeks. He didn't think he had ever been so furious in his life.
"Who?", he asked in deadly whisper.
"Everyone", Draco replied, just as quietly. "She said everyone had been tripping her and throwing things at her. Weasley called her a traitor and said she was diseased, some girl threw itching powder at her and that whore Lavender Brown pulled her chair from under her in class and everyone just kept laughing at her".
"I'm going to kill them! All of them. With my bare hands!", he said angrily, trying to keep his voice down so as not to wake his sleeping twin.
"She was a mess, mate. She ran into me and was just crying on the floor. I couldn't get her to get up so I just carried her here, hence...", he trailed off, explaining there obvious position.
Pansy, Daphne, Theo and Adrian had arrived mid conversation and heard most of what had occurred.
"You should take her up to bed", Pansy said. "She sleeps in the bed next mine and I could hear her crying most of the night. I don't think she got a wink of sleep".
Blaise nodded his head at Draco. He would have carried her himself but he was too angry to concentrate on anything, no matter how small the task was.
Pansy followed Draco upstairs and showed him which bed was Sofia's.
"I'm sure she will appreciate you being there for her, Draco. You never know, this could be the first step into her forgiving you", Pansy said. She knew it upset Draco that Sofia would not give him a chance but she knew that he would not allow himself to actually be upset as he thought he deserved every bad word she said to him and every hateful feeling she had towards him.
"I hope so", Draco replied, not taking his eyes of Sofia's sleeping form.
When they returned downstairs, everyone was sat listening to Blaise.
"From now on she doesn't go anywhere alone. We can work around what lessons we have with her and our free periods to make sure someone is always with her when she walks from class to class".
"What about in the classes she doesn't have with us?", Draco asked.
"There won't be any of what happened today going on once we've taught them a lesson and believe me, we will be teaching them a lesson".
Grim determination set in on all of their faces. They may not be loyal like Gryffindors but no one messed with one of their own and got away with it. They were Slytherins and Slytherins were experts when it came to revenge. They didn't get called cunning for no reason.
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