Chapter 1 : Chapter One - The Ugly Ducking Flies
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Caution: Mild Language
Dead. Her parents were dead, the war was over. Hermione had spent the summer months after the war under the guidance of Bill and Fleur Weasley. The end of the war also brought the end of The Golden Trio. The end of the war also brought about the end of Ron and Hermione. Ron thought that he deserved Hermione after the war, that she was his prize. She told him where to go, she wasn’t going to be anyone’s prize. She knew how Ron was, he was insanely jealous and thought the perfect woman would be a replica of his dear Mother, while Hermione wasn’t going to be anyone’s stay at home wife, she wanted to have her own life, and this didn’t include Ron anymore. The Malfoy’s had regained their status after testifying and producing evidence. It was shown that although they believed in blood purity, most of their actions during the war were forced, or an act to save their own family. Through memories it was shown how they changed sides during the war, and helped protect those of the light. With Ron and Hermione not speaking and the cold shoulder of Molly Weasley, things put a strain on Hermione’s relationship with Harry and Ginny. Ginny wasn’t as annoyed by things as Harry, she had always been jealous of Hermione and her relationship with Harry and Ron and with her out of the picture, Harry on the other hand was livid, he had this vision in his mind of what life would be like after the war. Him with Ginny, Ron with Hermione and they would live happily ever after. Now that vision was broken and Harry, in his selfishness couldn’t see past that.
Neither Ron nor Harry knew Hermione’s parents are dead. They knew she’d gone to Australia to find them, but they hadn’t noticed her come back looking pale and thin. They hadn’t seen her puffy eyes or the lack of bossiness. They hadn’t even asked her what was wrong, they were so wrapped up in their own little world of happiness, nothing else could penetrate it, let alone the sadness of another friend, that was forbidden.
Returning to Hogwarts to repeat their last year, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Harry were joined by Malfoy, Flint, Pucey, Parkinson and Blaise. The Slytherin’s seemed subdued since the war, it could be argued that they all lost more than the light during the war. Most of their actions weren’t their own and were only done to save their families – try telling that to Harry, Ron and Ginny, well it wasn’t going to happen. They saw the world in black and white, there were good people and bad people and no in-between.
Hermione was still a bossy know-it-all, at least to the remains of the Golden Trio, they were finding this last year at Hogwarts hard now they didn’t have their precious Hermione there to essentially do all their work. However pride was stopping them from getting off their high horses and apologizing to Hermione. You only have to look at the way they treated Hermione when Harry received the broom from Sirius to know that they were not going to be moved from their position. They were stubborn and would remain stubborn, even if they were in the wrong.
Their new Potions teacher was a bit of a flake, nothing like Professor Snape. Just how this teacher managed to become a teacher was a miracle, he didn’t seem to know what he was doing half the time and Hermione was grateful that she at least was proficient enough in potions not to feel jaded by this complete letdown. Unfortunately though she still had to share a table with Harry and Ron, the tension the three of them created was enough to stifle talk in the whole room, not even Draco could come up with any cutting remarks. However, Ron seemed to be making up for where Draco failed. Enter the worst potions lesson in the history of lessons, Hermione was just glad she knew this potion. Though the boys weren’t talking to her, that didn’t mean they didn’t try to get a look in to what she was doing, they both realized they would fail without her. The two dunderheads weren’t her responsibility anymore, so teachers would finally realize just how bad at work they were. There would be no more free rides just for being Harry Potter or the Weasley that helped him defeat Voldemort. People always seemed to conveniently forget that Ron had walked out on Harry and Hermione during the hunt for horcruxes. Ron was always going to come before Hermione and frankly she was sick of it. Now there was no more danger why should she put herself in the firing line just to be shot down again.
BANG! Ron’s cauldron erupted sending purple fumes everywhere, students panicked and screamed as several were hit with some sickly green gunk. Ron as usual quick to blame anyone over himself turned to Hermione, shouting and screaming at her, saying she should have told him he was doing it wrong that the explosion was her fault. Hermione would have answered back had she not been covered in the sickly green gunk, she was actually in a lot of pain, tears streaming down her eyes and all Ron could do was try to blame her. Students fled the classroom and the teacher stood on the spot momentarily shocked.
“Shut it Weasel, don’t blame Granger for your shitty little mistake” shouted Adrian Pucey, this year’s Head Boy.
“Everyone knows you’re shit at potions Weasley, you only survived this long because of Granger and now she’s no longer helping you we’re all at risk” chimed in Parkinson.
Ron huffed angrily, “Why are defending her, you’re all Slytherin’s, you hate scum like her” he shouted.
That comment would probably have hurt Hermione more had she not been near collapsing from the pain.
“The only scum I see here is you Weasel, oh and Potter over there. You hate Slytherin’s but we would never treat a friend this way” growled Blaise Zabini.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about” replied Harry.
“We do. We know of your little happy vision, we know Granger didn’t want that. We know you cut her off because she didn’t fit with your happy ending” said Marcus Flint.
“You lot are scum, you’ve bullied Hermione for years, called her names, made her cry and now what? You’re suddenly defending her, I don’t buy it” said Harry, taking his leave.
“You lot are welcome to her, we don’t want her” growled Ron, following Harry.
Hermione couldn’t feel, she couldn’t move, it hurt so much. How the Slytherin had avoided getting hurt. She felt her knees collapse as she fell to the floor awaiting the impact she was surprised when she found herself gripped in strong hands.
“Let’s get you to the Hospital Wing Granger” said Adrian Pucey.
The Hospital Wing was filled with those effected by Ron’s exploding cauldron, mostly though it seemed with a quick wave of Madame Pomfrey’s wand, they were right as rain again and allowed to leave and go back to classes. Hermione however was different, once Adrian had placed her on an available bed and explained to Madame Pomfrey that Hermione was closest to the explosion, thus getting hit the most, Hermione had promptly fainted, causing panic within the Hospital Wing.
She was so covered in gunk that no one could see the changes taking place. When she began to shake and emit a vibrant white light, Madame Pomfrey asked Adrian to go and fetch Professor McGonagall – Headmistress -. Under the gunk and the light Hermione was changing, her hair went from the frizzy birds nest to pin straight and blonde, her eyes changed from their dull brown to taking on a pinkish hue, she grew a little taller, she gained a bigger bum and chest and her skin tanned a little. No one would look at this girl and think it was Hermione Granger.
McGonagall came running in with Adrian trailing behind her as the bright light surrounding Hermione disappeared. Madame Pomfrey approached cautiously as she began removing the gunk that covered Hermione and checked her out for other possible injuries.
“Oh my god” cried McGonagall looking down on the person that used to be Hermione.
“She’s changed? But how?” whispered Madame Pomfrey.
“Why is there a gaggle of Slytherin’s outside this room?” asked McGonagall.
“They brought her in and refused to leave. Apparently there was an explosion in potions, Ron Weasley’s cauldron to be exact”.
“Well that explains everything. Poor girl, the war ends and she loses both her parents and her friends” said McGonagall sadly.
“Perhaps you can answer another question Minerva, do you know why the sorting hat is here?” she asked the Headmistress.
Minerva looked perplexed, “I don’t know, I didn’t order it here” she replied.
“I am here to resort the Zabini child” said the hat.
“Zabini child?” queried Minerva.
“Yes, the one lying here before you” replied the hat.
Minerva and Poppy gasped, “I never knew the Zabini’s had a daughter” whispered Poppy.
“It was kept secret, she was taken during a raid after the first fall of Voldemort. They looked everywhere for her but could never find her. The potion must have reacted with whatever barriers had been put in place to hide her true form” replied Minerva.
Hermione opened her eyes, sat up in bed and stared at the two women before her. Had she heard correctly? “Professor?” she inquired.
“Oh dear, you’re awake” replied Minerva.
“The sorting hat is here to resort you child” she continued.
“W-why?” whispered Hermione.
“We aren’t sure, the hat only appears when a sorting needs to happen” replied Minerva as she placed the hat on Hermione’s head.
“Ahh welcome back dear. Being a Zabini suits you better I think. Hermione Granger was a bit of a bizarre name, not at all befitting for a pureblood. But we are getting off topic. Where to put you, you can’t go back to Gryffindor, they never deserved you, you’d be bored in Ravenclaw and the Hufflepuff’s are fickle. No I’ll put you with your brother, you need all the family you can get, SLYTHERIN!” cried the hat.
Hermione stared before her, eyes unblinking. Slytherin! Why why why why why! “I don’t understand” whimpered Hermione.
“You didn’t give her a mirror” questioned Minerva, Poppy shook her head.
“Why would I need a mirror, Professor what’s going on?”
Hermione took the mirror from Poppy, and looked at the person reflected in it. No no no! This person wasn’t her, she didn’t have straight blonde hair or pinkish eyes and she never remembered having a chest this big. Her hands started to shake as her mind processed what the hat had told her. Minerva and Poppy had left Hermione to absorb her changes alone but Hermione wasn’t taking it well and everyone knew how temperamental her anger could be.
“ZABINI!” she screamed.
The Slytherin’s outside shuddered at the volume of her voice, tables shook as her anger grew sending her magic out in waves of uncontrollability, even a couple of glasses shattered. Minerva and Poppy looked on worryingly but felt like they couldn’t interfere.
Blaise Zabini shakily stood up and walked towards the room with Hermione. When he walked into the room, he stopped dead, looking intently at Hermione as Hermione looked back at him. Neither spoke for a long time, they simply stared at each other.
“Evvie?” whispered Blaise.