It had been three since she had returned from the Burrow after staying there for a couple of months with her best friend, boyfriend and the rest of the Weasleys, in order to recover from the traumas of the war that had occurred mere months ago. But now she was back. Three weeks she had wallowed in this hell hole. Three weeks she had been in the dismal place she had to call home.
Her stories of skii trips to France and Mediterrainean Cruises during the summers away from Hogwarts were exactly that. Stories. Fictional, make believe stories. Well that was what she liked to think. In actual fact they were down right lies. Despite what she told everyone in her world, the magical world in which she belonged, her life at home with her parent was far from perfect. Her parents were distant and cold. She knew they didn't love her, she had known this since she was very young. The fact that they forced Hermione to call them by their names rather than Mum and Dad was proof of that. Colin and Jane Granger may act like perfect parents and do 'parent things', such as buying school equipment, food and clothes for their only child, but it was clear to anyone that they were not overly fond of their daughter. In fact, one could say that they regretted ever conceiving her and that fact was not more clear to anyone than Hermione.
However, the reasons for her parents' strange behaviour and her loveless upbringing were unknown to anyone, including her. As a little girl she thought they simply didn't know how to love her properly but as she got older she knew that there must be something else. Maybe it was her. Maybe she wasn't the daughter they dreamed of having. She may be the top of her class and the smartest witch of her age but maybe they didn't want that. She often thought that her parents wished they had had a pretty little air head for a daughter, just to show off to their friends and family.
Hermione knew she had never been the most attractive girl in the world. In fact she wasn't very attractive at all. Her hair was the bane of her life, causing her endless amounts of stress and bullying due it's mass of bushiness. Her eyes were a dull brown and her skin almost looked yellow. To add to that she had gained a few pounds this last year too. Sneaking into muggle takeways and taking the greasy food whilst hunting horcruxes this last year had seen to that. She wasn't fat by any means yet she wasn't as thin as she used to be and she knew it. It was whilst pondering about her parents and her appearance that she heard the knock on her bedroom door.
"Hermione, are you up yet? Colin is going to work soon and you haven't been down for breakfast. He would like to wish you a Happy Birthday before he leaves", her mother had called stiffly through the door.
Ah yes, today was her birthday. She would undoubtedly get her usual perfume, make-up, CD's and books from her parents, Colin and Jane, and then later she would have to suffer through some stuffy meal while they made small talk with her and she would have to lie and gush about how much she just loved her presents. Apart from the books, she usually hated the rest of her gifts. It wasn't that she wasn't grateful, just that it was clear her parents hardly knew her at all.
With all this in mind, Hermione pushed her light blue duvet off her body and climbed out of bed. The brightness of the white walls hurt her eyes as she opened them, just as they did every morning. She hated her room. It was so dull and plain but Jane and Colin had decorated it themselves while she was at school so she could do nothing but act grateful when she had returned home from her second year. In her oversized t-shirt and shorts, Hermione padded to her en-suite bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth before she went downstairs for breakfast.
It was as she looked into the large mirror above her sink that she noticed someone else staring at her. It couldn't be. She was the only one in the room and this person looking back at her definitely wasn't her. 'But then where's my own reflection', she thought. Being the bright girl that she was, she quickly realised that this was her reflection, yet it was so different to the one she had seen for the last 18 years. 'Maybe if I just looked in a different mirror, things will be back to normal', she thought in denial but when she reached her full length mirror she was even more surprised. Now not only could she see the drastic changes in her face but in her body too. Her podgy longs legs were now sculpted and toned and her size seven feet were now dainty and small. Her stomach was flat and her waist was considerably smaller yet her bust must have gone up a size. She was at least a C cup! Above her tiny frame was a beautiful heart shaped face. Her pale white skin glistened in the morning sunlight. It was so white she looked like she was made of procelain. Hell, she could give Draco Malfoy a run for his money with how pale she was! She stared at her tiny button nose and rose red plump lips but gasped when her gaze fell on the reflection of her eyes. Covered by curling thick black eye lashes were large crystal orbs. She had never seen eyes so blue. She was sure they were electric. They looked even brighter when compared the jet black hair that framed her face. It fell just above her hips and was pin staraight rather than the mess of curls her previous hair had been.
As her eyes scanned her body again she couldn't help but notice the scars she had gained from the war were still as visible as ever. The scar from the small stab wound under her neck and the letters forming the word 'mudblood' on her arm, all done at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange at Malfoy Manor, could still be seen. She hated the scars. They reminded her of all Harry, Ron and she had suffered before and during the war. All the pain they had endured and the loss they had experienced. Yet she never covered them up. As ugly as they may be, she wasn't ashamed of them. Although the time they were carved into her skin kept her awake and plagued her dreams during the night, she wasn't embarrassed by them. To her the scars were proof. Proof that she and her two best friends whom she loved the most in the entire world had battled and won. Proof that they had made their world a better place. Proof that together they had vanquished the evil that threatened their lives everyday. She hated the scars but she couldn't deny that they gave her a sense of pride, even if that pride was laced with sorrow, pain and loss. Yet even though they still marred her appearance, there was no doubt that she was beautiful.
'I can't believe it! What on earth has happened to me? Maybe someone slipped me some polyjuice potion while I was sleeping? Or maybe I'm still sleeping and this is just a dream?'. The endless possibilities made her brain function at a deathyly speed. She had never been so confused. She didn't know what to do. What could she do?! She had gone to bed an average boring girl and woken up as a 5 foot 3 stunner! So, she did the only thing that made sense. She screamed. She screamed until her throat ached and tears swam in her eyes. She screamed until Colin and Jane walked into her bedroom and asked what all the fuss was about. As Hermione turned to look at them, a look of understanding passed through her parents faces. 'Understanding? UNDERSTANDING!!'.
"What the hell is going on?!". She had meant to keep that last part in her head but her confusion and anger at her parents' reactions to her sudden change in appearance forced her to shout out loud.
"Hermione, there is no need to curse!", Colin reprimanded. "If you just sit down we can talk about this. There is a perfectly logical explanation to this so sit down, be quiet and listen. You might want to prepare yourself aswel, you're going to be in for a shock".
In a trance like state Hermione did as she was told. Sitting on the edge of her small single bed she looked up at her parents waiting for them to continue.
"Well, you see the thing is", her mother started, "You're adopted, Hermione".
The words just kept repeating in Hermione's head going round and round. She couldn't believe it but at the same time she wasn't surprised. She had never felt like she belonged with the Grangers and now she knew why.
"Before we set up our own dentistry, Jane and I used to be detective inspectors in the police force. When we got married we decided that the adventure life just wasn't for us so we became dentists and set up our own practice. We had never wanted children but one day our old boss came to visit us. He said that they had a baby that needed looking after by trustworthy responsible adults as she was in grave danger and that he would like us to look after her and raise her as our own for her protection. We weren't so keen at first and wondered where her real parents were. We were told that they were alive but they could not look after their daughter as that would mean putting her in danger. After to some persuasion we agreed and that is when you came into our lives, Hermione. A few days later our ex boss returned with a letter from your birth mother saying how thankful she and your father were, how we have just saved her baby girls life and that they love you, more than life. She also wrote that you were from a special family. A family of witches of wizards and that you had glamour charm placed on you to hide your true identity which would remove itself when you became 18. Of course we believed it to be nonsense and thought we had taken you from a derranged lunatic or a drug addict. However, our boss explained everything. Everything about the magical world. How it is real and how only people high up in the goverment and police, like him, are aware of it. Naturally, we were sworn to secrecy and were made aware that you would most likely be the same. Hence, why were not all that shocked when you received your Hogwarts letter when you were eleven. As you turned 18 today, the charm seem to have worn off like your mother said it would. So no you know".
Hermione didn't know what to say. She was angry. Angry that they hadn't told her sooner. Angry that she had spent so long feeling like she was not good enough and unloved by the people who were supposed to love her more than anyone in the world. She was even more angry at the fact that she had people out there somewhere who actually loved her and her 'parents' had kept her from them. However, she was also curious. Who were her parents? Colin said they were magical so that means she's a halfblood or maybe even a pureblood. Do they live in Britain? Did she have siblings? What were her family like? Were they nice? Oh, she hoped that they were on the right side of the war. She hoped that they hadn't perished in the war like so many others she loved.
"Who are they? My family", she asked. She didn't care that this was the first thing she said. Knowing them two they were probably expecting a thank you for them taking her in. Well, they hadn't been loving but they had taught her some good values, like it being wrong to lie. So, she would not lie. She would not thank them for giving her a miserable life. It was only when she went to Hogwarts that she had actually started living and felt like she had a purpose in life. It was no thanks to them. None whatsoever.
"Your mother and father are called Seline and Andre. We were also told that you have a brother, well, a twin actually. His name is Blaise", Jane replied.
'Blaise? Blaise? Where have i heard that name before? Wait! No. It can't be!'.
"Wait, what are there last names? Well, my last name too I suppose. That is strange. I can't imagine having a different last name".
Colin chuckled a little a that statment and looked up at Hermione through his dark chocolate eyes.
"Well if you think that's strange, think how strange it will be when you have a new name all together. Your name was changed to Hermione for your own protection. Your actual name is Sofia. Sofia Narcissa Zabini".
She couldn't breathe. She was a Zabini. She was part of the rich and powerful Zabini family. They had not supported Voldemort in the war but they hadn't supported Harry or the order either. Blaise was her twin! That was going take some getting used to. 'Wait! my middle name is NARCISSA! No way! I know the Zabinis and Malfoys must be friendly, Blaise and Draco Malfoy are best friends! But would my parents really name me after Narcissa Malfoy?!'. No matter how much it sickened her to be associated with the Malfoys, she knew deep down that was probably the reason for her middle name.
Just then an grand black eagle owl flew through the open bedroom window. Hermione, reached over and took the letter from the owl, noticing the Zabini family crest on the back, and opened the envelope with shaking hands. After a couple of minutes reading and re-reading the letter she looked up to Colin and Jane.
"My family are coming", Hermion said, "In an hour".
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