“Mum?” Grace spoke, her head turned towards the joyful woman on the couch.
“Si mi amore?” The woman answered in grateful tears.
“I-I missed you.” Grace said in a sheepish smile.
And with that, the whole lot of the Zabini family jumped out of their positions and hurtled towards Hermione in a tight family embrace. At this point, the previously aristocratic family now looked mad with joy. “Il figila, your mother and I have missed you so much.” Her father muffled through the pile of robes settled in his face. “Let me take a look at you…” the matriarch said, leaning her arms outwards to get a view of her daughter. She gasped.
“You have my hair, my face, my lips...” The mother trailed off, tears reforming in her eyes. Grace leaned forward to hug her mother again. Leaning away, her mother gave her daughter a watery smile. “Come. We must be a family again.”
Twenty minutes later…
“Mi cara, were is your trunk?” Grace’s mother stated when they all managed to fit in her small muggle bedroom.
“Uh…mum, it’s in my dorm at Hogwarts.” Grace responded.
“No worries, sis...” Blaise stated, he waved his hand and a small house-elf appeared. Hermione soon cringed with fury. The war may be over, but that didn’t mean she changed her views and campaign for the rights of poor creatures like House-elves.
Noticing her discomfort, Mr. Zabini stepped in, “Don’t be upset, mi amore, all of our house-elves work for us with reasonable pay.” Her father gestured towards the creature, which looked well fed and happy. Hermione then noticed that this elf was wearing a small child-sized periwinkle dress.
“Y-you’re free?” Hermione mumbled towards the elf looking at her with large eyes.
“Yes, Ms. Grace, Tilly works for Master under the same wage and freedom as any other worker on Master’s residence. Tilly has been guaranteed freedom before Tilly began work for Masters.” The little elf responded brightly.
“That’s wonderful!” Grace smiled and turned back towards her family. They may be purebloods and Slytherins, but she couldn’t be more proud of how her family went against all pureblood stereotypes.
Blaise turned back to the house elf, “Tilly, please bring my sister’s possessions to the Zabini Manor in America.”
Grace paled, “A-America?” she questioned.
Blaise turned his attention back to his sister, “It was father’s idea really. He decided we should all catch up and spend time together for the next two months in our home in the states.”
“TWO MONTHS?! What am I going to do? We just can’t leave! We have N.E.W.T.S! You and I both have schoolwork and-” Grace was interrupted by Blaise.
“It’s okay, McGonagall already knows, and she understands our predicament. All of our work will be sent by owl.”
“Oh”, was all Grace could respond.
“Mi cara, lets get your things out so it will be easier for Tilly.” Her mother broke the silence.
“Sure mum.” Grace walked over to her wardrobe on the far side of the wall. Opening the doors, she gasped. “These…these aren’t my clothes.” She muttered. Today was just too full of surprises. Grace gaped at the articles lying effortlessly on the hangers. She slid her fingers on top of velvet fabrics, satin and silk, rich colors ranging from reds to deep greens.
“Of course they are Grace.” Her mother stated matter-of-factly, snapping Grace out of her reverie. “You didn’t think we would leave you wearing worn-out muggle things did you?”
Grace turned towards her mother, who stood just a touch taller than her. Kate Granger walked up behind her and sat on Hermione’s bed. “It was quite easy, knowing that you dislike shopping. So all the clothes I ‘bought’ you were really gifts sent from your dear mother. Richard and I had to use a special potion on all your clothes when we washed them, so they will disillusion themselves into the clothes you thought you wore.” Grace couldn’t believe she lived through this many lies; even the clothes she wore weren’t what she thought. Sighing, Grace reached out towards her wardrobe and began to hand Tilly her clothing.