Chapter 5 : Crumbling
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From now on it will be Julietta not Hermione
The horrible realization that your entire life had been a shambles and not even possessing knowledge of your new life. She could have been a part of any family, but no her future life had to be handed to an associated enemy. Yes the war was over and she knew the facts she’d been told were true enough but it was still a lot to take in. Zabini not Granger, Kidnapped not left.
Julietta groaned, how on earth was she going to explain all of this to Harry and Ginny! Oh gods, how would Gryffindor take this, let alone the rest of the school. The Zabini’s and the Malfoy’s had long since left her, but she knew both Blaise and D-Malfoy were in the Head Boy’s room. She’d expected to be smothered by her new family but perhaps her previous life as Hermione Granger had been a godsend. They’d left her to sort through her own emotions and she was glad of it.
Oh my. She looked so different. Staring in the mirror she could scarcely believe she was real. As Hermione Granger, she’d never been pretty, she’d never had a man look at her tenderly. She’d been branded a bookworm by others and no one had been able to look past that and see the real her. The girl who looked back at her in the mirror was stunning. Her brown uncontrollable hair was now charcoal black, waving down to her waist. Her usual chocolate brown eyes now sparkled a deep lilac. Her body now filled out in all the right places, her curves stared at her seductively swaying, she smiled in pleasure, and oh my, she actually had breasts and they were big! Her wardrobe would need alterations until she was able to shop.
She guessed she should tell Harry and Ginny before Dumbledore announced it to the whole school. The Room of Requirement seemed a good place as any, she couldn’t just walk into the Gryffindor common room right now. She sent a school owl with a message and waited for replies. Once she had them she dressed. She was still unsued to her new body but managed to magically alter a dark purple dress to fit her correctly. She knocked at the door and entered, a heat rising to her cheeks at the expression on Draco Malfoy’s face.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt” she stammered.
“You weren’t” replied Blaise.
“I’m just going to the Room of Requirement to meet Harry and Ginny. I want to explain before Dumbledore makes his announcement” they nodded in her direction.
“I’ll be back later”
“Stay safe” Blaise’s comment surprised her as did the tight hug that followed it.
The Room of Requirement was dark and eerie when she arrived, reflecting the anxiety she felt. It was true they’d been friends since the age of 11 but she knew this would be difficult, she was confident however in the fact that her friends would stand by her.
“Hermione?” a male voice that would be Harry.
“Hermione, are you here?” asked the female voice of Ginny.
“It’s not Hermione anymore, it’s Julietta” they gasped as she stepped from the shadows.
“Who are you? Where is Hermione?” Harry’s anger was already rising.
“Harry it is me. I’m Hermione or I was” she looked at the alarmed face Harry had made, “Please let me explain”, her friends nodded.
“My entire life has been a lie. When my parents died I left something out. On their will it stated I was either ‘adopted’ or ‘kidnapped’. The latter appeared to be the truer version. This morning I woke to see my appearance as this in the mirror and I fainted. When I awoke I stared into the faces of the Malfoy’s, the Zabini’s and Professor Snape. My lost family” she heard Ginny gasped, she had a twinkle in her eye, “Blaise is my twin brother, I am the lost Zabini, I am Julietta Zabini. Professor Snape and Lucius Malfoy are my Godfathers. Lucius was acquitted because he’s been Dumbledore’s spy from the beginning” looking into Harry’s heated face, she continued sharply, “direct your angry questions towards the Headmaster Harry, not me!”
Harry’s face projected deep anger, betrayal, hurt and disgust, he stormed from the room without a backwards glance. Harry’s reaction stung Julietta.
Ginny placed a reassuring hand on Julietta’s shoulder, “Oh this is so exciting. Everyone knows the story of your disappearance. Your disappearance is supposed to be the link as to why Lucius Malfoy turned so bad. Don’t worry about Harry, he didn’t grow up listening to your story. Honestly the story of your disappearance is almost as famous as his!”
“You’re not made at me?” asked Julietta.
“No! I never could be. I think Julietta suits you much more than Hermione did. I always did feel there was something missing with you. Now tell me, is that gorgeous brother of yours single?” she giggled and Julietta slapped her playfully on the arm.
“Come on dinners approaching, which means Dumbledore’s announcement, which means lots of gossip. You’ll stay with me won’t you Ginny?”
“Of course” she nodded.
The walk to dinner was filled with a nervous bunch of emotions for Julietta. Would this be the last time she walked into the Great Hall safely and without gossip? She took a place beside Ginny, far away from the beaten glaring mess that was Ronald Weasley, Harry too sat distanced from her. She looked across to the Slytherin table and caught the eye of her brother, who gave her a reassuring smile.
Dumbledore beckoned her up to the front, Ginny squeezed her hand quickly before she left.
“Attention everyone, I’m sure many of you are aware of the story concerning the lost Zabini child, Julietta. You are also aware of our Head Girl being Hermione Granger. It does not take a genius to conclude through this speech that the girl standing to my right is non other that Miss Julietta Zabini, more commonly known as Miss Hermione Granger. She has now taken the name of Julietta Zabini and you will call her thus. Now, tuck in”. The hall delved straight into waves of gossip, as Julietta walked back to Ginny she felt all eyes upon her, glares from the girls, lust from the boys.
Apparently no one knew what to think or do. The Gyffindor’s watched their Princess wondering if she was still theirs. The Slytherin’s watched on feeling possessiveness and protectiveness towards this former Mudblood. The Ravenclaw’s looked over in admiration and the Hufflepuff’s looked at her with deep loyalty and confusion. Julietta chanced a glance at the Staff table, Dumbledore flashed her a twinkling smile and Snape looked bursting with pride. There were of course those who would treat her badly, she could almost see the lineup: Ronald, Lavender, Parkinson, Harry?
It would be a rough few days she knew but she had Ginny and Blaise and as weird as it sounded she had a family to turn to and maybe Malfoy – though she wasn’t holding her breath there.
No this was too much. She’d expected some people to hate her, judge her and insult her but she hadn’t felt this bad since Rita Skeeter’s stint against her during the Triwizard Tournament. Her hopes were low, Harry still refused to talk to her, Ronald had been worse than when she’d caught him with his leg over. His snide remarks spiraled out of control, cutting her deep, 7 years of friendship out the window. Ginny was a godsend her constant companionship was like flying in heaven, she kept her grounded in her new self and hexed anyone who disrespected her. Still she didn’t feel right. As for her new ‘family’, she’d received letter from both Mr. and Mrs. Zabini and Narcissa Malfoy. Also letters from little Toby had arrived. Lucius and Severus had kept their distance, knowing this was hard for her. Time with Blaise made her feel protected, time spent with him made her feel a part of something. It was hard to get to know each other again on equal footing but not impossible.
Still she was not happy. After a particular gruesome attack of verbal words Julietta felt herself almost crumble inside, she refused to let herself cry in front of others. As she ran from the scene quite lost in herself, she completely embarrassed herself bumping into another. She looked up into the silver eyes of Draco Malfoy. His eyes broke her control and she found herself clutched to his chest bawling her eyes out. It was a moment of weakness she knew it. Whether Draco felt uncomfortable or not, he didn’t show it, he just let her get it out and when she was done, he stepped away.
“Please try to call me Draco Julietta”
That earned him a small smile, “I need to speak with Dumbledore, bye….Draco”
Dumbledore was waiting for her when she arrived, Miss Zabini, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
Julietta looked at Dumbledore hesitantly, “I-I want to be resorted. I don’t know where I belong anymore and I feel lost. Please, please let me resort” she desperately pleaded.
“Very well Miss Zabini, but we shall do it tonight in the Great Hall. I believe it would be beneficial and certainly stop the gossip mill. Miss Zabini, I’m sorry for the abuse you’ve received at the hands of your peers. I hope very much that it will soon stop”
Down in the Great Hall for dinner, no one knew what was going to happen. They knew nothing of the impromptu sorting about to take place. Julietta was nervous, this sorting would reassure where she belonged to herself and others. Julietta waited to the side of the hall near the staff table. Dumbledore called the hall to order after dinner.
“I have an impromptu announcement to make if you could all settle down. Miss Zabini has asked to be resorted and after this I want to hear no more remarks against her” his eyes seemed to growl as they swept across the hall and the students muttered in response.
“Miss Zabini, sit if you please” McGonagall commanded freely.
She sat patiently waiting for the sorting hat to fall upon her head. The hall took in a baited breath.
“My my Miss Zabini you’ve returned at last. Or should I say Miss Granger? Well well. You’ve got yourself in a pickle but where to put you. Not Gryffindor, too nice for Slytherin. Too bright for Ravenclaw and don’t even think about Hufflepuff. No this was written before your time, better be ATHENA!”
Total shock, unbelievable total shock. You could hear a pin drop. Who was Athena? Was that even a house? Even the teachers were gobsmacked. Dumbledore regained some control, “Mr. Zabini, would you come up here please”, Blaise rose from his chair to join Dumbledore. He looked at Blaise, who clearly got the message. He placed the sorting had on his head and waited.
“Ah Mr. Zabini, it seems I put you in the wrong house. You are part of bigger things. ATHENA!” the hat cried.
If anything the silence intensified. Athena was the unspoken house, it was always in the shadows and was never mentioned. It was said that while the great head’s of Hogwarts were creating the school, Athena the Goddess of Wisdom decided to add something of her own. She created a hidden house, whose purpose was still unknown. The Zabini twins were the first and only members of the house.
Dumbledore called order and sent the student body to bed. The anxious faces of Draco and Ginny could be seen in the retreating crowd. Dumbledore and Snape lead them to the 4th floor where the entrance supposedly was, and they found it. The four of them entered cautiously, the place was magnificent. Truly beyond anything imaginable, it made the Head’s quarters look like a dump.
Dumbledore was still shocked and Snape worried for his Goddaughter and Blaise. Julietta’s voice caught them unawares.
“Urh Professor’s, why are there two extra doors marked ‘Ginny’ and ‘Draco’?”
Hope y'all like this chapter :) It's important for later in the story.
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