Chapter 43

Mr. Zabini walked back inside from the front porch of the Manor. He had been standing out in the blizzard for the last several minutes reapplying the surrounding barriers.

There was a troubled look on Mrs. Zabini’s face. “Feo?”

The man took his wife’s hands in his own, “It will be fine. Let him stay here…”

“But the ministry-”

“The ministry will not know, I’ll make sure of it.”

His wife nodded her head. “I’ll bring him some supper.”


Blaise stepped into his sister’s room to see her sitting on the window seat, legs propped up onto the ledge. He could physically see her body heat cause the cold glass to fog. “Gracie?”

She looked up at him, “Did he tell you anything?”

Blaise shook his head.

Grace began to sit up, “Do you have any idea?”

“He didn’t say a thing.” Blaise sat on his sister’s rug, “But it had to be sudden, for him to risk coming here without notice.”

“He took a bike.”

Blaise peered at her, “What does that have to do anything with it?”

“A bicycle is a muggle contraption, he must have taken it because he was desperate…”

“Desperate enough to not use apparation or a broom…” Blaise added as he finally began to realize.

“But why?” Grace wondered out loud.

Blaise’s eyes became wide. “He’s running from something.”

Christmas day…

The day had gone by with little talk within the Zabini household, after opening presents of course. The three youngest in the house gained newly knitted Weasley jumpers and all were forced to wear them. Grace and her mother spent the entire day slaving in the kitchen, finishing the many dishes they had yet to complete the day before. The men of the house, however, had used their time by setting the final touches for the first Zabini Christmas as a family. Once the dinner table was set, everyone had sat down at the feast before them. As tradition, Mr. Zabini was at the head of the table, Mrs. Zabini to his left, Grace to his right, Blaise and Draco at the far end near his wife, and two empty seats settled next to his daughter.

Before they started, Grace stared at the empty chairs beside her, “Father, where are Kate and Richard?”

Blaise looked at her questionably, “You invited the Grangers?”

“Well they did raise me for the last 17 years, you know. I still consider them family.” She snapped.

Grace glanced towards her parents, who had been whispering something quickly to each other.

Mr. Zabini ran a hand over his mustache and looked at his daughter seriously. There was sadness in his eyes that brushed a feeling of guilt over the entire table. “I-”

Mrs. Zabini began to break down. She covered her hands over her face.

“Mum?” Grace looked terrified at her parents, “What happened to them?”

Her father cleared his throat, “Now’s not a good time-”

“What happened to them?!”

The head of the table glanced worriedly at the rest of the chairs, “P-Pansy’s uncle. He knew they would be the next best thing if they couldn’t get one of us.”

Grace stood abruptly from one of the chairs, “They’re dead?!”

Her mother coughed back a few tears, “We shouldn’t have said anything! It’s Christmas!”

Their daughter was already fleeing up the stairs.

“Gracie!!” Blaise called as he chased her.

Draco watched the scene unfold with grief in his heart. For once, he showed complete emotion and let a single tear fall down the side of his cheek.

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