The next two hours packed too much information than needed. Hermione felt woozy as she was ‘gently’ told that the past seventeen years of her life was a lie. Hermione always hated lies; she despised anyone who even tried to make a faulty excuse. Yet, ever since the war ended and the media snapped a photo in absolutely everyone’s business no matter how insignificant that business was, she was accustomed to rumors and false accusations. In between the internal battle that was raging in her mind, Hermione let the important phrases of the conversation enter her conscience.
“… our daughter... prophecy…child…twins…survival… Our names… Anastasia Boosalis-Zabini… husband Alfeo Zabini… this is your brother Blaise...”
Hermione’s head shot up at the mention of the combination of ‘Blaise’ and ‘brother’ in the same sentence. This just could not be. Her throat felt dry as she saw her “family” look at her with identical expressions of amusement. She felt a heated stare come from the farthest side of the couch. Twitching her head towards her ‘brother’, she settled her eyes to latch onto his. They were a spitting image of each other, her eyes were precisely the same deep shade of mahogany as his, and vice versa.
They immediately started having a conversation without words. Fear and worry clouded her eyes as the fellow Italian’s across from her were glazed with interest and support, as if saying ‘I know this is weird, but you have to trust us.’ Hermione’s eyes flashed with understanding, it was a Gryffindor trait after all, as if responding ‘I’ll try.’
And right there Hermione had an epiphany. She looked different, felt different. No wonder Zabini couldn’t fully understand her discomfort. He didn’t know she was Hermione Jean Granger- a Gryffindor, a mudblood, best friend of Harry Potter, girlfriend of Ron Weasley, and took some claim in saving the English Wizarding Realm. Zabini didn’t know that she fought against the Slytherins and their leader. He didn’t know that his best friend, the notorious Draco Malfoy, spat at her feet every time she attempted to walk by without being noticed. All of this is why Hermione Jean Granger did not believe the first seventeen years of her life was a lie; she did not believe the people in front of her were her real parents. Hermione Granger did all those things, not some Graciella Zabini, long-lost twin sister of a Slytherin. Heck, Zabini didn’t even know she attended Hogwarts. But soon that will all change.
Hermione quickly stood up from her previous position and paced out of the room. Silence captivated the air as the matriarch of one of the last pureblood families looked to her husband with eyes of worry and fear. Blaise sat back on the couch confused and helpless while his father tried to soothe his mother. Blaise did somehow expect his sister to disbelieve at first, he did as well, but he never though she would just get up and leave. A Zabini was never one to leave a situation or finish something with loose ends. It just wasn’t done. Blaise was snapped out of his conscience when he heard small footsteps coming back in the direction of the room. Looking up, he saw his sister hold up a photo of the Golden Trio, clad in red and gold embroidered Hogwarts robes. Her finger set delicately on the abdomen of none other than Hermione Granger.
Hermione gulped as she held the muggle photo of Harry, Ron, and herself in front of Blaise’s face, his eyes filled with a mixture of confusion and interest. Finally she muttered loud enough, “That’s me.”
“Gr-Granger?” Blaise stuttered as an answer to her previous statement.
“Do you see how difficult it is for me to accept that what you are all saying is true?” Hermione stated, she was always one for a polite argument rather than the other way around, but yet everyone knew that any argument with Hermione Granger was either logical or just plain nasty.
Mr. Zabini seemed amused, “I am so proud of my daughter.”
Hermione turned around to face the man; his wife snuggled in his arm. Her face turned a shade red. “You CAN’T be my father. They are my parents.” She pointed to the couple sitting in the large loveseat across the room.
“Grace, dear, we are actually squibs hired by your lovely parents here, to raise you and protect you.” Kate Granger spoke.
“Kate, honey, that was my part to say.” Richard Granger teased, then suddenly his mood became a tinge more serious, “Her-Grace, I know what your thinking…” He acknowledged the tears collecting in the child’s eyes. “Your parents love you, more than we...” he gestured to his wife and himself, “ever could. You got the same treatment being raised as your brother here did. Your family loves you Grace, you need to give them a chance. Kate and I…well, I would be lying if I said we will take care of you because our contract is now broken, but we love you Grace. We really do, but its only right, now that the war is over, that you finally go home.”
Hermione couldn’t believe her ears, “MY NAME IS NOT GRACE. MY NAME IS HERMIONE.” She said while breaking down into sobs. So it was true, she was living a lie. She never really knew who she was until today and when she looked back all she could think of was that it was all a sham.
Blaise perked up at the stiffness his sister transformed into as she let her sobs bring her to her knees. He had been contemplating exactly how to react that his sister was Hermione Granger. He knew he had to accept it in its entire cruel fate, but he had a sister and he was meant to love her. And Merlin be damned if he didn’t love her already. He shot out of his chair and settled in front of Hermione’s withering form. He placed a hand on her shoulder to stabilize her shaking and a hand on the coffee table behind them, so he could support them both. She looked up; eyes red from hurt and betrayal, eyes that seemed to plead to make life go back to normal. But he couldn’t let that happen. “Hermione...” he started, it seemed appropriate to call her by former name, just so she knew he understood. “This…” he picked up the picture that she had left in his lap. “Does not change anything about you being my sister. We are related by blood and love…you can’t escape that. You are just the same as you were yesterday and today. Now you just look different, have your rightful name, and have a family, a family who loves you and wants you to give them a chance. If you think that Hermione Granger helped save the wizarding world and Grace Zabini didn’t, you would be completely mad.” Blaise smiled to lighten the mood, but quickly regained his serious attitude, “Hermione…Grace, if you think that me being a Slytherin affects my judgment on you, it doesn’t. I’m your brother, we breathed on this earth at the same moment and I couldn’t be happier to share that moment with someone like you. I admit, what I’ve done in the past has not been the greatest, especially towards you. And if I told you that I would have never said those things to you because you are my sister, I wouldn’t be lying. But I know that I am guilty of calling other people that term because of their blood status, and I was wrong. So terribly wrong. The war showed me that... “ He was rambling, so he decided to end it there. “You need to use some of that Gryffindor trust, Grace. I think we all need it.” He finished his speech with fulfillment as he sat back and took his sister’s hands in his.Hermione stared at the affectionate actions her fellow classmate was giving her. She started to cry again, but this time it was because of the amount of desperation, realization, wisdom, and love that spread throughout his words. He really wanted a sister; they all want the missing part of their family. She had to admit to herself, the past seventeen years staying with the Grangers never felt exactly right. She loved the couple with every fiber of her being, but they just couldn’t bring that certain something that made her feel like she was rightfully where she belonged. This simple hand and hand contact showed Hermione that certain feeling--she felt like the Zabinis really were her home. Stifling her tears, she leaned forward and captured Blaise’s shoulders in an embrace. She hugged him as if she had never touched him before, which indeed she hadn’t.