“I HAVE A WHAT?!” Blaise shrieked at an octave any male would cringe at.
“Darling, you must let us explain.” His mother cooed, unable to stabilize her son’s shaking form.
Chuckling, “Mother that is not something you keep from your offspring.” He seethed through clenched teeth. His anger was carried out from his father. They were just too alike.
“Blaise, son, sit down and let. us. speak.” Mr. Zabini demanded, his patience running thin.
Obediently, Blaise sat in his chair awaiting for the rubbish his parents were to offer him as an excuse. His mind was running through memories. He had no recollections of any girl in his childhood; his parents seemed to have never mentioned her, nor had she been present in any family portraits, photos, or reunions. As a curious child, he rummaged through the family records hundreds of times. Never was there a female of this same age as him. This just wasn’t possible. There was no other spawn from Anastasia and Alfeo Zabini. Only him. Yet, he couldn’t ignore the twinge of excitement he felt in his chest. He always wanted siblings, someone to tease and know better than the back of his hand. Damn those Weasleys, their breeding traditions made him envious of the two youngest of the clan. They always seemed happy and supportive. Being the only child could get lonely, and he must admit he was spoiled when he was younger.
“Son-” his father began, breaking him out of his reverie. “Years ago, before your mother had y-the…er…-two of you, the first war was at it’s peak. All families who were bearing children need to ensure their families safety, and therefore went to seers to ask for guidance.” His looked sheepishly at his wife, who merely rolled her soft brown eyes. “Your mother wasn’t so fond of those particular kind of magical folk-”
“They’re all nutters.” Mumbled Mrs. Zabini under her breath, interrupting her husband.
Continuing, Mr. Zabini took a breath, “We went to the ministry to seek out our family prophecy. We couldn’t make any of it out at first, but once your mother discovered there was not only one, but two of you in there, it all made sense.” The young Zabini’s patience was running thin again and he dramatically wafted his arms in a motion to say ‘continue’. “The prophecy stated that we must send one of you away, and one of you will fight for the light side, otherwise our family will not survive through the next age of darkness.” At this point Blaise recognized the ‘light side’ referring to Dumbledore’s Army and the Order and the ‘next age of darkness’ implying the second uprising of the Dark Lord. “We sent your sister away, knowing that you will be safer with us, because we insured you grew up to be a strong, clever man, just in case you were the one who went to fight in the war.” That part was accurate, his parents always pressured him with sports both wizarding and muggle-alike, and he paid no mind in it, he rather enjoyed them. On top of that, his parents added a new wing to their English residence solely for the purpose as a gym and sanctuary for the growing young man; he liked to blow off steam there. “We never lost contact with her however, we gave her a nice life, guarded by very kind and strict squibs, and she has been placed on a complicated and long-term disillusionment charm, which should end the night before your upcoming birthdays.”
Content with the silent response of their son while they concluded the tale, the older Zabinis sat back on the couch they shared. After letting the information sink in, Blaise began his questions.
“Do you know where she is? Have you contacted her? Does she know about you? Me? Will I ever meet her? What if-” He was cut off by his mother’s hand, raised to signal silence.
She responded, “Blaise this is why we came to talk to you mi cara.” She ended with Italian; they always spoke Italian whenever something became intimate. Looking up at his mother, she continued, “We know where she is, and as that the war is finally over, we want to reunite our family. We are all to meet her for the first time on both your birthdays.”
“So you haven’t met her?” He questioned, both of his parents responded with a nod. His year just got a whole lot more interesting. His parents, acknowledging his acceptance of the situation, began to prepare for their departure. Before they threw the handful of floo powder in their clasped hands, his father let out a last phrase from beneath his perfectly trimmed mustache. “We trust you not to tell anyone just yet il figlio.” Giving his parents a firm nod, Blaise opened the door to a now empty headmistress’ office and left towards his own dorm. The only words he could accumulate in his head were “Bloody hell.”
Slipping into her house slippers, Hermione padded towards the hallway bathroom. She unconsciously slid her now-too-long bathrobe over her pajamas and grabbed her toothbrush. Her parents, being dentists, taught her to brush before and after every meal. Although she sometimes ‘forgot’ this rule while she resided in Hogwarts, she still did it at home nonetheless. Squeezing the muggle toothpaste onto the bristles she lifted the brush towards her lips, subconsciously looking into the wall mirror to guide her reflection.
She froze. She stared at the reflection in the mirror. This was not her. This was not Hermione Jean Granger. This. Whoever this was, was at least half a foot shorter than Hermione, her hair was dark and sleek, its length ending just above her stomach, her eyes being a much darker brown than before, with no more honey and golden tones flickering in and out of her pupil, and her skin tone got significantly warmer, more of a beige color rather than her pasty complexion. Her face shape was much rounder and filled out her facial structure, making her look younger, as if the war hasn’t effected her. Her lips dipped into a small, precious pout and she continued to stare back at Hermione. Still gaping at the image before her eyes, she moved her toothbrush lower to the level of her chin, and the reflection followed suit. Hermione lifted the toothbrush towards her lips again, and the reflection repeated the actions in sync with her. This time, the reflections eyes grew wide, as did Hermione’s, and she dropped her toothbrush in a clatter as it fell into the sink and let out a shriek.
Mr. and Mrs. Granger heard the scream of their ‘daughter’ and they knew immediately that the day was just beginning. Both looking at each other in the parlor, Mr. Granger got up and gently tapped on the hallway mirror three times. When the couple was assigned their jobs, the Zabinis placed a magical item in each room of the house, just in case the couple had emergencies or needed to communicate with the true parents of the child.
Back in the headmistress’ office, all three of the Zabinis waited to take off via floo powder until they heard three soft knocks coming out of nowhere. Nodding her head to allow them to proceed, McGonagall lifted the floo barriers with a wave of her wand. And with three puffs of green smoke, the family disappeared. Closing the barriers again, McGonagall shifted her gaze from the fireplace to the portrait of Dumbledore.
“Did you know all this time Albus?” she asked innocently. When she found out her most beloved Gryffindor was truly the complete opposite from what she seemed, the professor felt somewhat betrayed.
“Don’t let it get to you Minerva, she is finally with her family.” Dumbledore responded, completely ignoring the previous question. With a reassured nod, McGonagall left her office to attend lunch.
Within seconds the Zabinis had arrived in the fireplace of the house’s living room. It was quite a small house as Blaise could compare too, and he noticed the muggle photos along the wall. As if the pictures were frozen in time, which they really weren’t, he searched for photos of her. To no avail, the room was filled with nothing but books and a tea set on the coffee table. It really was quite cozy.
Hermione dashed down the steps just in time to see three strangers brushing soot off their robes. She froze again. Her face pale, she ran to her parents, protecting them with her body and grabbed the wand out of her bathrobe. Pointing it at the figures, she muttered a small ‘Immobulus’. Hermione’s parents, watching their bosses being frozen behind their backs, brought Hermione back to the present. Mr. Granger pulled his daughter back.
Shrieking, “MUM! LOOK AT ME! WHAT HAPPENED?! IT’S ME HERMIONE. I DON’T LOOK LIKE HER. BUT I AM. MUM ITS ME. DAD? IT’S ME! THEY DIDN’T HURT YOU DID THEY?!!”
Her father shook her shoulders, “ WE KNOW ITS YOU. Now please. PLEASE. Use the counter-curse on our visitors.” Hermione completely disregarded that her father said the term ‘counter-curse’ but did note the very creepy calm tone in his voice.
“HOW ARE YOU NOT SCARED?! I WOKE UP DIFF-” She was cut off by her mother.
“Dear, please mobilize our guests. They will explain.” Shaking nervously, Hermione lifted her wand towards the intruders. Before she gasped out the counter-curse, her mother broke her concentration. “And Hermione, darling, you might not want to call us those names anymore. You may call me Kate, and my husband’s name is Richard.” Hermione’s eyes went wide. W-what? Her parents just suggested she use their actual names. She couldn’t muster enough thought because her father helped guide her hand back towards the three figures. Knowing she had to mobilize them once again, Hermione muttered the counter-curse, and all three figures regained their composure.
All three figures re-shifted their weight after the curse and swiftly turned around in unison. Hermione’s eyes went wide, pointing at the youngest of the three people, “Z-zabini? What are you doing in my home?!” Blaise stiffened at the small figure before him. She looked so much like him, and no one can deny she carried more traits of their mum than he did. Opening his mouth to reply, on just how did she know who he was, his own mother cut in.
“Grace, la figila, it is so nice to finally meet you.” She cooed as tears began forming in her eyes. She gracefully walked towards her daughter and held her in a tight embrace. “We are finally together again, I’ve missed you so much.” She sobbed into Hermione’s bathrobes.
Hermione went still. She didn’t breathe. Why was Blaise’s mother hugging her? She eventually figured the two other persons were Zabini’s parents, noticing they all had the same dignified look. Hermione was the smartest witch of her age after all. More importantly, why were they finally together? And who was Grace? Hermione’s eyes darkened, if possible, and her pupils narrowed. “La figila, daughter…” She slowly unwound herself from the sobbing woman and backed away. “I am not your daughter… er…sorry?” she muttered in a voice just soft enough so people can hear.
“I see you speak Italian.” Said the man who stepped in front of his son. Hermione observed him. He was tall and lean, his dark features creating an aristocratic look, but his eyes and facial hair made him seem more carefree and dare she say it, fatherly. Her heart leapt in her throat as he strode over towards her. Stopping just inches away from her; he looked her up and down. With a sideways smile, which she was pretty sure was meant to be a smirk; he hugged her. “Il mi amore, é difficile de capire. Ma io sono così content che sini vivi e qui.” He said behind her ear. Hermione shivered at the words the man said. (My love, it is hard to understand. But I am so happy to see you alive and here.) Hermione, which no one knew because they had no interest, had studied several languages since second year and was very close in being fluent in French, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. She had to know some basis on the art of language, especially after that year looking for Horcruxes with Harry and Ron. Who knew what places the Horcruxes were in, and what country they would apparate to next? Snapping out of her reverie, she backed away from the man in front of her cautiously. This was just too scary. Hermione then lifted her now-small height by standing on the balls of her feet, peering over the man’s shoulder.Catching his sister’s eyes staring at him over their father’s form, Blaise gave a genuine smile. “Hey sorella…” he paused as her eyes grew wide. He finished, “…sis.”