Chapter 5

Three days later…



“She hasn’t come back, Harry! Surely she would owl us if she was to stay longer!”

The redhead flashed up the stairs that formed once the gargoyles moved. A raven-haired boy followed him just as swiftly. Knocking (more like punching) the wooden door, Ron didn’t wait for confirmation to enter. He just marched inside.

“Mr. Weasley! Mr. Potter! This is most inappropriate behavior-”

“Professor! Hermione hasn’t gotten back from her visit with her parents and she hasn’t answered any of our owls or howlers! What if a deatheater is still out there and attacked them?! Professor you have to let Harry and I go, we can save her!”

“MR. WEASLEY!” bellowed the new headmistress. The portraits of Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape watched the scene unfold with entertained expressions.

The redhead and his best friend soon shriveled and cringed at the might of the headmistress’ voice.

“You will calm down. You will sit down. And you. will. explain. yourselves.” McGonagall said once she regained her composure.

Both Gryffindors followed orders. “Now. Please re-tell me exactly why you are here.” The elderly woman asked once she took her rightful seat.

“Professor” Harry began, “Ron and I are extremely worried. Hermione was to go home for her birthday and she has yet to come back. We asked Pavarti if she was in her dorm this morning, but she told us she hasn’t even seen her since Hermione left Friday night. Then we asked Ginny and she said her owl returned with the presents that were suppose to go to the Granger Household on Hermione’s birthday, therefore her owl couldn’t find her family. Professor, we fear that her family might have gotten attacked. Who knows how many deatheaters are still out there? We understand that the Ministry has confiscated and arrested all Voldemort parties, but there is still evil out there. We just need to know she is safe.” Harry finished, his worry finally making an appearance in his emerald eyes.

Ron kept fidgeting under the gaze of Snape’s portrait while Harry explained their fears. Finally Severus got bored, got up, and left his frame to converse with other portraits. Giving a sigh of relief, Ron realized Harry was finished with their explanation. “Professor, we have lost so much already, I can’t afford to lose her.” He admitted openly. McGonagall looked at the flushed boy and nodded with sympathy. If they only knew…

“Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, I assure you that Ms. Granger is safe. However, I hope for you to worry about other things. It may be best to not look back and march towards the future.” The professor said the last line, specifically turned towards the nervous red-haired boy. Sighing, McGonagall really hoped these two would make this through.

“Thank you professor.” Harry finally stated, thinking her last phrase referred to his statement of deatheaters, and how, since Voldemort was gone, the future should be bright and open to everyone.

The boys got up and left.

In America…

“Blaise!!” Grace laughed as they both sat by the edge of the river that coursed to the right side of the Manor. The American air tickled their senses and warmed the bodies that had been conversing for the last several hours.

“Honestly! Mum always loves to tell that story, so I thought I ought to tell you before I die in public,” Blaise coughed in between laughs.

“Well when mum says don’t bother the guests, I’m sure that didn’t mean hiding under the wife of the Ministry of Magic’s skirt!!” Grace teased as her brother poked her in the side.

“Not my fault! My four-year-old self thought it was a giant umbrella!” He spat as laughter overwhelmed the both of them again.

“Honestly Blaise, this is all too much. Even back then you were a ladies man!” Grace said through her smiling cheeks.

“Oi! I don’t go for married women.” Blaise answered in a mock hurt look. He stood up and offered his hand to his sister. Sobering her happiness, Grace wiped her hands on her robes and reached out to grab her brother’s extended limb. Just about to grasp his hand, Blaise swiftly stepped back, leaving Grace to stumble on the pile of leaves that gathered between them.

“BBLAAISSSEE!!!” She yelled as she got up and charged towards him. Quickly he began to run, and she chased him for the next forty minutes.

A couple hours later…

Grace had entered the Manor’s library for the fourth time that week. Ever since she discovered the massive athenaeum, it had become her second sanctuary. The Hogswarts library was no match to her family’s archives and expanse for binded knowledge. Grace let her fingers delicately rub across each book’s spine. She let the aroma of the carved wood and old pages captivate her senses and let it linger as she saw a rattling movement in her peripheral vision. Pointing her wand in the direction of the shifting, she came across the source of the actions. Grace peered at the chest with curiosity and walked several steps closer to the object. It was no more than a foot taller than her, and the wood was spectacularly carved and the same shade of ochre as the rest of the room’s furniture.

“I see you found the family files,” Her father said behind her. Grace stiffened at the surprise. “Go on, place your wand between the fawn and the orchid,” Mr. Zabini continued.

Grace did as she was told and gently placed the tip of her wand between the carved figures in the wood. A small golden hue overcame the chest and before she knew it, the drawers had sprung free of their captive state. She stared at the amounts of files within the wooden doors, each neatly placed in a deep green folder with a symbol of some sort singed into the material. All of a sudden, a single folder levitated itself into the air above and shifted towards the opposite side drawer, settling itself into another folder.

“Cynthia Urquart is to be united to Tynerious Gamp in due time…” Her father said as he observed the chest’s actions. Grace’s face faltered into an unknown expression, a look she was often referred to when she was unsure about something. As if answering her questions, the Zabini patriarch explained, “These are the records of all pureblood families in England as we know it. What you have just witnessed is the engagement of two pureblood advocates.” Grace nodded in understanding; she had yet found the strength to talk.

Her father walked up behind her and placed a warm hand on her frail shoulder. He slightly shifted her to where she was angled towards him and looked deep into her eyes with a look of sincerity. “Our family is the record keeper of all pureblood families. This is why we could not escape the Dark Lord; we were the only ones who could provide him with loyal followers and officers. This has polluted our family name.” He let go of his daughter’s shoulder and gestured his daughter to explore the families within the chest.

Grace’s throat went dry as she looked at the family portfolios in front of her and scanned for a familiar name. There was so little than she expected, but then again, all pureblood families were rapidly decreasing due to the lack of intermarriage. Therefore, their families would die off within a century or two.

Grace’s eyes searched for names but were met with symbols. As she took a closer look she began to realize the seared designs on the folder were really family crests. She recognized a few and interpreted others to what families she believed they belonged to. The Browns, the Crabbes, the Crouchs, the Flints, the Goyles, the Lestranges, the Malfoys, the Notts, and the Shacklebolts were all she could identify.

However, a red crest with a calligraphic W caught her attention. ‘The Weasleys,’ she said in her mind. Grace gingerly plucked the folder from its place and opened it. There, before her, was the entire Weasley family tree, starting from Cedrella Black and Septimus Weasley. Their magical portraits descended into a lineage and Grace couldn’t help but stare. She flipped the folder to see it’s other contents and saw a file for each Weasley member. Her numb fingers rippled through to the collection and stopped briefly as she noticed one blank page. Fred Weasley. All of his information was magically erased and his picture was empty. Under his name was written in small letters, April 1, 1978 – May 2, 1998. A wave of sadness passed Grace as she read those few numbers and she quickly turned the page to see Ron’s. As she expected, his bright smile gleamed through his photo and stared back at her. She read all about him, granted there wasn’t anything in there she didn’t know already.

Grace was so intrigued by the information; she failed to notice her father pick up a very thin file from the back of the cabinet. She strained her eyes as she tried to focus on the file within her father’s fingertips. The crest was a strong navy blue with a quill and key overlapping in its ink. A golden Z was the centerpiece of the design. The man carefully opened the folder and lifted a single sheet from its contents.

Grace looked at the page now in her hands; it was blank. With a tap of her father’s wand, a swirl of ink began to inscribe her file, complete with portrait of herself as a baby. “You are apart of this family,” her father said as he watched his daughter’s face. Grace began to tear at the beauty of the magic before her. She looked at the few remaining files in the cabinet and heard her mother apparate into the library.

The woman wearily looked at the scene before her and was instantly brightened as she saw her daughter’s file, “Mi amore, you are a Zabini.” Grace smiled in response to her mother and stated what she had been dying to do, “I can’t wait to tell Harry and Ron. It might take them a while but I know they will understand.” She had attempted to owl her friends, but was then told that the Zabini’s American Manor was used as a safe house during the war. Therefore, no one knew of its location and it’s occupants. It was physically impossible to enter the grounds without touching the surrounding curses of the building. Bringing herself out of her thoughts, her mother and father shared a knowing glance.

“Darling, you can’t tell anyone what your previous name was.” Her mother said cautiously.

Grace looked at both of them in awe. They couldn’t be serious. What would the press think? Everyone by now knew that Hermione Granger disappeared and theories were floating around everywhere. Did her family really want to feed the fire?

“It’s difficult to understand, mi figila,” Her father stated. “It’s safest that you don’t tell anyone who you used to be. Many other pureblood families despise Hermione Granger, and we can’t risk losing you again.” That was true. Many pureblood families were still prejudiced even after the war, they wouldn’t hesitate killing one of the major people who ended their fight for blood purity.

Grace nodded in agreement. This was going to be harder than she thought.

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