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Author's note- Hi everyone! I'm back! Thank you for your patience in waiting for this story to be finished and revised! I really hope you like it! -PoohBear

Disclaimer- I own nothing but the plot and a few original characters! No copyright infringement intended with the letter from the Ministry. Just wanted it to be like the one Harry got in Chamber of Secrets!

Chapter Image by ariana_tithe

Hermione Granger lay sprawled out on her stomach with a book in front of her. She had just spent the past couple of hours packing for her annual trip to the Burrow; the home of two of her best friends, and she was ready to relax. She opened her book to the final chapter and began reading, her eyes fluidly scanning over the words on each page before going to the next.

Being that she had always possessed an inquisitive mind, Hermione liked to be prepared for the upcoming school year. This year was no different. However, apart from preparing for her seventh, and final, year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, she was also preparing to fight in the pending war. With Lord Voldemort attempting to regain power, no one could be too careful.

She was nearing the end of her sixth year Arithmancy book when her father’s voice called up to her. “Coming!” she called as she marked her page and climbed off her bed.

When she reached the foot of the stairs, she could just make out the whispered voices of her parents coming from the living room. “She’s not going to take this well,” her father was saying.

“Then why do we have to tell her?” her mother questioned.

“Jane, I don’t like this anymore than you do, but we have to tell her.”

Must be serious, Hermione thought. She then rounded the corner and the sight that greeted her pulled at her heart.

Her parents were sitting close together on the sofa, their heads bowed. Her father had an arm around her mother and his other hand was holding her mother’s tightly. “Dad?”

Mr. Granger looked up, clearing his throat as he smiled at his daughter. “Ah, there you are,” he said.

“Is everything alright?”

“Why don’t you sit down, sweetheart,” her father replied.

Hermione sat in the arm chair across from her parents. She could tell that whatever news they had for her, it was something that had deeply upset them. “What’s going on?”

“Um, your mother and I have something very important that we need to talk to you about,” he told her.

Hermione’s brow furrowed as she made herself more comfortable. Her mother looked as though she had been crying for hours and her father seemed shaken to the core. The only other time she had seen her parents like this was when her grandfather had died two years previous.

“Do we have to tell her now, Tom?” her mother asked, her voice trembling.

Mr. Granger rubbed his wife’s arm. “We don’t have a choice, Jane,” he said softly, “They’re going to be here in a few hours. She’ll need time to process this.”

“Process what?” Hermione questioned, “Who’s coming?”

Her parents were quiet for several minutes. “Dad, who’s coming?” she persisted.

“Your parents,” he finally replied.

Hermione stared at them for a second before bursting into laughter. “Funny, Dad,” she said, “You really had me going for a second there.”

“This is no joke, Hermione,” Mr. Granger said solemnly, “There’s something you need to know.”


The storm raging outside was the worst Oxfordshire County had seen in many years. Lightening lit up the sky, thunder shook the windows; but Tom Granger was paying it no mind. He was too wrapped up in the book he was reading to even notice the knocking that could barely be heard over the pouring rain.

When the knocking broke through his thoughts a few seconds later, Tom marked his place and checked the clock on the mantle above the fireplace. Now who could be calling at this hour? Then, setting his book down, he walked over to the door.

When he opened it, he was greeted by the sight of two figures covered in dark, hooded cloaks. The shorter of the two figures was cradling a tiny bundle in its arms and appeared to be rocking it. “Can… Can I help you?” Tom questioned, looking at the cloaked figures with curiosity and fear.

The taller figure lifted the hood of its cloak, revealing a handsome young man whose face held such fear as Tom had never seen. “Sir, my name is Pietro and this is my wife, Marjorie,” he said, his words heavily accented, “We are seeking help… Please, may we come in?”

Tom eyed the man suspiciously. “I promise… we mean you no harm,” the young man stated upon seeing his uncertainty.

Marjorie also removed her hood and reached for Tom’s arm. “Sir, I beg you… Please!”

He noted the sense of urgency in their voices, the despair on their faces as she held tight to his arm. These things, as well as the fact that they seemed like nice enough people, caused his heart to open to them. Ordinarily, he would have closed the door on them and thought nothing more about them.

Tom stepped aside and opened the door wider for them. “Yes, of course,” he said, “Please, come in and warm yourselves by the fire.”

“Tom, are you coming to bed, darling?”

Tom looked up the stairs as the young couple entered the house. “Not quite yet, love,” he replied, “You go on. I’ll be there in a bit.”

“If you please, we must speak to your wife as well,” Pietro told him.

“Sweetheart, who are you talking to?”

“Why don’t you come join us, Jane?” Tom called as he shut the door. He then showed Pietro and Marjorie into the living room so they could warm up.

Seconds later, Jane entered the room and stood next to Tom. “Pietro, Marjorie, this is my wife, Jane,” Tom said, wrapping his arm around her waist.

“Hello,” Jane said, “Please, won’t you sit? Can I get you some tea? You must be frozen from being out in that storm.”

“You are very kind, but we can only stay for a moment,” Pietro replied.

Tom cleared his throat. “Exactly what is this all about?” he asked, “What do you mean knocking on our door so close to midnight?”

Marjorie held the bundle in her arms tighter to her. “We apologize for the late hour,” Pietro said, “Our daughter, Hermione, is in danger.”

Jane looked at the tiny bundle and opened her mouth to say something, but Pietro rushed to continue. “Please, for your own safety, I cannot tell you more than that.”

“And how is it that you think we can help?” Tom questioned.

The young woman kissed the swaddled child on the head. Then, she tearfully stretched out her arms, wordlessly offering the baby to the couple before her.


“And before we knew it; there were all these bright lights, you were in our arms, and they were gone,” Mr. Granger finished.

Mrs. Granger handed Hermione a folded piece of paper. “We found this wrapped in your blanket.”

Hermione unfolded the paper and began to read.

Please take good care of our Hermione Jean. We will be back for her when it is safe.
Many thanks,
Pietro and Marjorie Zabini

Hermione stared at the last name of the mysterious Pietro and Marjorie. This can’t be true, she thought, this just can’t be true! I’m Hermione Granger; seventh year and Head Girl at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I’m not a Zabini… I am not a Zabini!

“This has got to be some kind of mistake,” she said after several minutes.

“I’m afraid there’s no mistake, Hermione,” her father said.

“But… I go to school with Blaise Zabini,” Hermione stated, “We’re in the same year; I look nothing like him.”

“Hermione, haven’t you ever wondered why there are no pictures of your mother pregnant? Or why we don’t have pictures from when you were born?” Mr. Granger questioned.

That was a very good point. She couldn’t recall ever coming across pictures of her mother pregnant, or pictures from the hospital when she was born. Of course there was a logical explanation for that. Perhaps her mother didn’t want her picture taken while pregnant or just after giving birth. Her mother never had been too fond of getting her picture taken. “But there are all those pictures of me as a baby and you have my birth certificate,” she said.

“We have those baby pictures because you weren’t even a week old when your parents brought you to us,” Mrs. Granger explained, “but your birth certificate is fake.”


Mr. Granger stood and began pacing behind the couch. “The day after you came to us, we received an envelope filled with everything we would need to make it believable that you were ours; including a birth certificate,” he told her.

Hermione’s heart pounded loudly in her chest as she tried to make sense of everything her parents had just explained to her. Though the looks of sadness and the tone of her parents’ voices told her that it was the truth, she just couldn’t wrap her head around it. She felt as if she had fallen into a strange, yet horrible, dream and couldn’t wake up. But I am awake, she thought logically. Suddenly, her blood began to boil in anger.

“You’ve known this all along and you never told me?” she questioned hotly, standing up and glaring at them.

Mrs. Granger looked at her pleadingly. “Darling, please, you must understand…” she began.

Hermione whipped around and glared at her. “Understand what, Mother?” she snapped. “That you’ve hidden the fact that I’m not even your daughter from me? I think I understand that one quite well, thank you.”

“Hermione, your mother and I…”

“You aren’t my parents,” Hermione snapped, again, not allowing an explanation and turning to face Mr. Granger.

Mrs. Granger threw her head into her hands and sobbed loudly as her husband looked at the young woman they had come to know and love as their daughter sternly and said, “Young lady, you do not speak to us like that!”

“How could you have kept something like this from me? Didn’t you think this was something I should have been aware of before now?”

“We wanted to tell you, Hermione,” Mr. Granger said, “we truly did, and we tried but we just couldn’t. We didn’t understand it at first, but it was physically impossible for us to tell you.”

Her father‘s words about bright lights suddenly made more sense to her as he said this. She had read of particular spells used to prevent a person from spilling information, willingly or not, so it seemed fully plausible that the Zabinis had performed such spells on them. “They must have cast a Secrecy spell on you,” she said aloud, “Something like that would keep you from speaking the truth, even to each other.”

Mrs. Granger nodded. “We did try to speak to each other about it a number of times, but something prevented it. That must be it,” she agreed.

“And you couldn’t have found some other way to tell me before now?!”

Mr. Granger came back around the couch and took his wife’s hand as she began to sob again. “We were scared, Hermione,” he said, “A strange couple comes to our house and tells us their daughter is in danger but they can’t tell us why, then suddenly they’re gone and we’re the guardians of a beautiful baby. You were the miracle we’d been praying for. We couldn’t just give that up.”

“We always knew they’d be coming back for you, but we just couldn’t allow ourselves to accept it,” Mrs. Granger said, dabbing her eyes with a tissue, “But the fact always remained; as much as we wished it were true, you were never actually ours… Not legally anyway. In our hearts, however, you are.”

Hermione clutched at her head briefly in anger. “And yet you’ve been lying to me my entire life!”

“We’ve explained that,” her father snapped.

Hermione realized at that moment that lashing out wasn’t going to get her anywhere. She took a deep breath and sat down, doing her best to remain calm so that she could logically consider all of the facts. “I’m assuming my features were altered in some way,” she said thoughtfully, more to herself than to her parents, “I mean; I know Blaise and there’s no resemblance between us and…”

At the thought of Blaise, Hermione suddenly realized that not only was she his sister… “we’re twins.”

She blinked in amazement. “This doesn’t make any sense,” she continued, standing and beginning to pace, “I’ve never heard of anything that could alter a person’s physical appearance for such an extended period of time. Of course, Polyjuice Potion could do it, but that only lasts for an hour at best. I suppose they could have done some kind of spell, but I don’t know of anything that powerful. Then again, I was very young when I was brought here, and all babies look sort of similar, so I gather that there wasn’t much that would have been done…”

She finally stopped pacing and took a breath. She turned to look at her parents. “What did I look like? Before, I mean.”

“Your mother kept you so close that we never got a look at you before you were handed to us,” Mrs. Granger explained, “The next day, I was cleaning out that old closet in the hall where I discovered this envelope. I had never seen it before; it just appeared.”

She took an envelope from her apron pocket and handed it to Hermione. “Inside was a letter explaining that you were a witch, that you would probably receive a letter to a special school, and that precautions had been taken to hide your true identity,” she said, “There was also everything we would need to sell the thought that you were undoubtedly our daughter. Including, as your father mentioned, your birth certificate.”

Hermione sat silently for a few minutes processing what she had just been told. “Why did they leave me here?” she asked suddenly, realizing that a full explanation on that front hadn’t been given.

“That’s a question we can’t answer,” Mr. Granger told her, “We don’t know.”

“They didn’t give you a reason?”

He shook his head. “We were only told that you were in danger and couldn’t be told why.”

Hermione furrowed her brow. “It all seems strange, doesn’t it?” she asked, “Me being in some kind of mysterious danger that no one can know about. Suppose I’m not their daughter at all; suppose they kidnapped me! They‘re Death Eaters after all so I wouldn‘t put it past them.”

“Hermione, darling, you didn’t see their faces, hear their voices. They were terrified.”

Hermione went back to pacing. “Well this is just great! Ever since I started at Hogwarts I’ve been teased, ridiculed, and utterly humiliated for being Muggle-born by people like Blaise Zabini and various other Slytherins and no one can tell me why I was brought to the Muggle world to begin with other than ‘you were in danger’!”

“Sweetheart, I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explan…”

“Yes, Mother I’m sure there is but unfortunately that explanation seems to be lost in the void until the time I can get it from the Zabinis,” she said.

“Which should be in a few hours,” Mr. Granger said softly. “They’re going to be here at five thirty to take… to take you home.”

Hermione stood and began to walk toward the stairs. “Excuse me,” she said quietly, “I need a moment to sift through all of this.”

Her mind was racing with the thought of being taken away from her parents. As angry as she was at them for not telling her, she couldn’t honestly blame them; they had been under a Secrecy Spell after all. Furthermore, she loved her parents dearly.

Before she even made it out of the living room, her father’s voice stopped her. “There’s more,” he said softly, “Please, I think you’ll want to sit down for this.”

Hermione reluctantly sat back down and Mr. Granger continued, “Early this morning we received another letter from your parents. That’s how we knew they would be coming back for you today.”

“What did it say?”

Mrs. Granger pursed her lips and let out a disapproving snort. Mr. Granger glanced at his wife as he rubbed the back of his neck. It was clear that whatever the letter said, it was something neither of them were happy about. “Ahem, apparently there’s a tradition of arranged marriages.”

Hermione blinked and shook her head as though she hadn’t heard properly. “I’m sorry; are you trying to tell me that the Zabini’s have arranged a marriage for me?”

“According to the letter, you’re to be married during the Christmas Holiday,” her father confirmed.

Hermione scoffed in disbelief. “They’ve got to out of their minds if they think I’m going to agree to such an archaic practice! What; do they think women are incapable of choosing a husband?” she raged.

“We don’t like it either; you‘re only seventeen after all, but this is obviously something that’s important to them,” Mrs. Granger said, “Perhaps we should try to be more understanding of their ways?”

Hermione huffed and folded her arms over her chest. “The only way I’d be understanding of this is if they agree to postpone the wedding until whoever it is I’m supposed to marry and I have had a proper amount of time to get to know each other,” she stated. She then looked at her father questioningly. “Did the letter say who it is I’m supposed to be betrothed to?”

Mr. Granger reached into his pocket and opened the letter he pulled out. “Ahem, yes… A boy called Draco Malfoy.”

Hermione’s eyes widened as she shot out of her seat, “WHAT?!” she yelled, “Oh this day just keeps getting better and better! I find out I’m the daughter of a Death Eater, the twin sister of a complete prat, and I’m betrothed to someone who hates me. What a joy this day has turned out to be!”

“Is this Draco Malfoy really so bad?”

Hermione ran a hand through her bushy brown hair and sighed. “I think he shows people what he thinks they expect of him, but I don’t think he’s truly bad; no,” she confessed, “Though I can’t honestly say he’s good either. I mean; all he’s ever done is torment my friends and me. He was raised to hate Muggles and Muggle-born witches and wizards, so that automatically puts us at odds, doesn’t it?”

She paused, twisting her hair into a bun and sticking a pencil into it to keep it in place. “I don’t see how he could be agreeable to this arranged marriage when he hates me.”

“Oh honey, I’m sure he doesn’t hate you,” Mrs. Granger said comfortingly.

“I’m afraid I think he does. He’s only ever treated me like dirt since the day he met me because I’m Muggle-born.”

“Well, maybe you two can work things out.”

Hermione was about to protest when suddenly something small and sparkling gold zoomed into the room and began circling her head. What’s a snitch doing here, she thought as she reached up and attempted to catch the small object. Oh where the bloody hell is Harry when you need him?

Though it took several minutes, Hermione finally managed to catch the walnut sized ball, it's thin silver wings flapping madly in an attempt to get away from her firm grip. With it finally settled down and its wings tucked away, she was able to examine it. From what she could tell, it was just an ordinary snitch used in Quidditch. But it can’t be ordinary, she thought. Unless it escaped from a game somewhere…

“Hermione, what is that?” Mr. Granger asked.

“It’s called a ‘snitch’. It’s one of the four balls used in Quidditch,” she said, “I’ve told you about Quidditch; remember, my friends Ginny, Ron, and Harry play for the Gryffindor team?”

“Oh, yes.”

“What’s it doing here?” Mrs. Granger asked.

“I’m not sure,” Hermione said thoughtfully. She didn’t have long to ponder as to the reason for the snitch being in a Muggle town, however for at that moment, an envelope flew in through the chimney and landed softly at her feet.

Seeing that it was, indeed, for her, Hermione quickly pocketed the golden snitch and picked up the envelope. She then opened it and found a neatly scrawled note consisting of a single word; Serpentias.

There was no signature, just that one simple word. Hermione turned the piece of parchment over and over in her hands trying to see if there was maybe something else that she might have missed. Finding nothing, she sighed and removed the snitch from her pocket and examined it again, confusion washing over her in bigger waves than she had ever felt.

“Hermione?” Mr. Granger questioned.

What the bloody hell is going on here, she thought? She looked closer at the writing and it suddenly clicked. “Malfoy!”

Her parents looked at her curiously as she began pacing and thinking out loud; a habit she’d had since she was a child. “He’s the only one that makes sense. The snitch, the one word note which is probably the password to open the snitch… Ugh! He’s probably hoping I’ll open the snitch and get expelled for using underage magic,” she rambled, “What a slimy little…”

“You wouldn’t really get expelled, would you?” Mr. Granger questioned worriedly. School had always been important to him so the possibility of her getting expelled was definitely a concern for him.

Hermione shook her head. “I come of age tomorrow so one little spell isn’t going to get me anything more than a warning,” she assured him.

Without another thought, she withdrew her wand from her jeans pocket and gently tapped the snitch with the tip of it and said, “Serpentias.”

At first, it seemed as though nothing was going to happen, the snitch just sat there in her hand. Then, in a matter of seconds, it began to vibrate. A warm tingling feeling spread through her hand as the snitch began to heat causing her to drop it.

As it hit the floor the golden color changed to red and then burned white hot. Hermione watched the snitch as it began to glow so brightly white that she had to squint to see what was happening. Then suddenly, she let out a scream of terror as the snitch turned into a great black snake, coiled and ready to strike. The snake raised its black head and stared at them through amber eyes, its forked tongue flickering in and out of its mouth, smelling them.

Mr. Granger carefully moved toward the snake with the poker from the fireplace in an attempt to remove it but it lunged dangerously at him. Mrs. Granger and Hermione both screamed and Mrs. Granger pulled her daughter close to her. The snake flicked its tongue in Hermione’s direction and uncoiled itself.

Hermione’s heart pounded wildly in her chest as the serpent slithered gracefully across the floor and came to a stop in front of her. She watched as it rose up and looked her right in the eyes, swaying its head slightly. Then, as if she knew the creature wouldn’t hurt her, Hermione stepped away from her mother and reached for it.

The snake slithered closer to her and wrapped itself around her arm, turning so that its head was in the palm of her hand. As though hypnotized, Hermione began stroking the watery skin. The snake suddenly stretched its mouth wide and hissed loudly, vanishing in a puff of green smoke.

Hermione blinked, bringing her eyes back into focus, and looked down at her open hand. A thin band of silver glistened up at her formed into the shape of an emerald eyed, open-mouthed snake. Sitting in the snake’s opened mouth, held in by four tiny fang-shaped diamonds was a small, perfect emerald. It was the most beautiful ring she had ever seen in her life. Slowly, she looked back at her parents.

She swallowed loudly and whispered, “Oh my.”

Mr. Granger chuckled shakily. “Well, he certainly has an impressive way of doing things, doesn’t he?”

Hermione nodded and closed her fingers around the ring. Looking at her parents, she said, “How am I supposed to wear this? An engagement ring is supposed to be a symbol of two people’s love, this seems more like a symbol of an arrangement of convenience.”

“Talk to the Zabinis,” Mrs. Granger suggested, “I’m sure they’ll understand once you explain your thoughts to them.”

Hermione sniffed as she wiped a tear from her eye before it could fall. “Excuse me,” she said, suddenly bolting for the stairs.

Hermione quickly climbed the stairs and ran into her bedroom, slamming the door and leaning back against it. For the first time since she had heard the news of who she was, she allowed the hot tears she had been holding back to fall freely. She sank to the floor and hugged her knees to her chest, crying into them. It was all she could do to keep herself from completely losing her mind.

She felt betrayed in some ways because her parents had kept such important information from her for so long, however unwillingly. Betrayed because the people who had created her, who had supposedly loved her, had abandoned her. She also felt nervous about the fact that she was going to be marrying someone who had shown an intense hatred for her during the years they had attended Hogwarts.

Slowly, she lifted her hand and opened her fist. The tiny ring shimmered back at her as her honey brown eyes carefully looked it over. The band was quite intriguing; it was as if the snake was appearing to coil itself around the wearer’s finger. It looked a bit big for her slim fingers, though it was certainly beautifully crafted… Most likely by magic… every detail made to perfection.

Upon closer inspection, she noticed writing etched into the inside of the band. Curiosity getting the better of her, Hermione walked over to her nightstand and turned on the lamp. Holding the ring close to her face, she read the neatly scrawled inscription.

“To my betrothed, Draco Malfoy,” she read out loud, wiping the tears away from her cheeks. She was truly impressed. I wonder if he knows who he’s betrothed to, she thought as she slipped the ring into her pocket, Of course he does you twit! He sent you the bloody snitch and note.

Hermione silently wondered what Draco thought about their arranged marriage. Did he have the same concerns that she did? Would he be able to set aside their differences and accept her into his life? Would she be able to forgive him for the hurtful things he’d said and done to her over the years? If they refused to accept this betrothal, would they be forced to marry?

She wasn’t completely sure of what was going to happen in the next twenty-four hours, but she was willing to at least speak to the Zabinis and make her decision from there. At this point, she wasn’t ready to either accept or deny anything.

Moments later, an owl appeared at her window carrying a letter in its beak. Hermione walked over to the window and took the letter from the owl, which flew off quickly, and looked at the envelope. Her name was written on it in a very official way so she could only assume that it was from the Ministry of Magic.

Knowing exactly what it might say, she opened it lazily and read the neatly written note.

Dear Miss Granger,
We have received intelligence that a Password Charm was used at your place of residence this afternoon at five minutes to three.

As you know, underage wizards are not permitted to perform spells outside school, and further spellwork on your part may lead to expulsion from said school (Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, 1875, Paragraph C).

We would also ask you to remember that any magical activity that risks notice by members of the non-magical community (Muggles) is a serious offense under section 13 of the International Confederation of Warlocks’ Statute of Secrecy.

Enjoy your new school term!

Yours sincerely,

Mafalda Hopkirk

Improper Use of Magic Office

Ministry of Magic

Hermione rolled her eyes as she unceremoniously ripped the letter and threw it in her waste basket. Ordinarily she wouldn’t be so lax when it came to an official warning from the Wizarding world’s highest form of government. However, things weren’t exactly being run by the Ministry these days. Lord Voldemort had found his way into the Ministry and was using it to further his plan, whatever it was, to rule the Wizarding world. That, and they had been treating Harry very poorly since their fifth year.

With a deep sigh, Hermione walked over to the foot of her bed and threw open her school trunk. At the bottom of the trunk were a few broken quills and empty ink bottles which she quickly gathered up and discarded in her waste basket. She then walked over to her closet and began emptying it of its contents.

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