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Chapter 16: Secret-Keeping
By the time Apollonia returned to the Great Hall and took a seat, a bushy-haired girl was at the Slytherin table, seemingly waiting for her to arrive. Apollonia recognized her immediately. “Hermione Granger. Tell me, what are you doing over here at the Slytherin table?”
“I have my reasons,” she replied.
“Which are what?” Apollonia asked.
“For one, why exactly is Hedwig over here with you?” Hermione inquired. “Harry would have no reason to contact a Slytherin since Malfoy has poisoned them all into hating us.”
Apollonia seated herself and ran a hand over Hedwig. “That’s a complicated story there, Hermione. First of all, I’m sure you’ve noticed that Snape has mysteriously stepped back and stopped insulting you, Ron, and Harry left and right.” She nodded. “Well, you have me to thank for that. I was able to convince the man that it needed to be done. And, we both know he did as I asked. Only two students will ever have that effect on Snape, and one of them would never do something nice for Harry. I would though; I’m willing to help the most famous boy in the Wizarding World with the one teacher he never got along with. As for Hedwig being at my side for the moment, it’s how he’s been helping me with certain problems I’ve been faced with. He’s the only one that could help me with this and I know it.”
“Why Harry?” she inquired.
Apollonia laughed. “You’re the brightest witch of our age. Maybe you can figure out what’s going on. I sure as hell can’t tell you and neither can Harry. You must learn this one your own.”
Hermione shrugged and returned to the Gryffindor table, clearly confused by what was going on. Apollonia didn’t blame her; the whole thing was pretty confusing. She herself didn’t understand half of it. Her life was a confusing mess at the moment, one she could barely even follow. This whole thing was extremely unnerving; she just discovered that Harry Potter was her brother, a fact that was hidden from her since the day she was born. She hated the fact that no one could ever know that she was sister to the most famous wizard in the world. It was common knowledge among the Wizarding World that Voldemort was after Harry for what happened fifteen years ago. It was because of that fact that Apollonia could not tell anyone about what she learned. Well, now the Occulemency makes sense; Dad doesn’t want me to spill the beans about my connection to Harry.
After Hermione trudged back to her own table, Apollonia spent a good chunk of time pondering all of this. She wanted to find a way to tell Harry without Voldemort uncovering the secret her father concealed from everyone. Apollonia would not allow herself to become bait so that Voldemort could get what he wanted so badly: Harry. It was reprehensible and Apollonia could not bear to see something like that happen. She sighed and turned to the note Hedwig dropped before Draco came to speak with her. “Okay now, about this note? What is it this time, Harry?” Apollonia wondered, tearing the letter open.
Your little friend is acting rather unusual. Have you uncovered anything that may insinuate his allegiance to Voldemort? Maybe the package I saw him going to retrieve when he went to Knockturn Alley over the summer? Let me know of your findings as soon as possible.
P.S. How was your first Occulemency lesson with your father? Sorry I could be there to help you through it. Filch decided to give me a nice detention and I was to serve it last night.
Stuffing the note in her pocket, Apollonia grabbed her things and went to the library. Of course, she thought. That famous brother of mine wants to know if my closest friend is a servant to the man bent on killing him. Wow, how twisted is that? Then, a thought occurred to her. Is this really my life now? The whole thing was far too crazy to be real. Even she had a tough time believing any of it. But, it was the truth; and, it was how complicated her life had become as of late. I wonder if Hermione will realize what I was implying about my life; she’s the brightest witch of our age and always seemed to uncover that which was to remain hidden. Apollonia sighed. It wouldn’t happen and she knew it.
Wishful thinking was all it was. No one would ever learn that she was related to the most famous boy ever. Since no one knew who her parents were—Draco and Harry aside—no one would ever know her secret. Only two students knew her as Apollonia Snape while the others knew her to be Apollonia Evans. Apollonia chuckled. I use my mother’s maiden name during school and still Harry has not realized who I am. Guess I can blame Dad for that one; everyone in the school refers to me as Apollonia. The last time anyone heard what they believed to be my last name was first year at the Sorting Ceremony. Only a handful of people know who I am. And, I doubt anyone ever will realize my true identity.
Arriving at the library, Apollonia nodded at Madam Pince and flung her bag onto the nearest table. It was Sunday, meaning she could spend the day relaxing, doing anything to get her mind off last night’s Occulemency lesson. Before yesterday, Apollonia looked forward to meeting with Harry regarding Draco’s activities. Now? Quite simple, she dreaded it. She dreaded having to lie to her brother about who she was, merely because some megalomaniac wished him dead. “If and when I tell him, how would he take that news?” she wondered.
“How would who take what?” a voice asked.
Hearing that voice, Apollonia looked up, only to see Hermione Granger sitting across from her. She had her nose in a book, so any interlopers wouldn’t notice what was really going on, but Apollonia knew the truth. “What are you doing here, Hermione? I thought I told you to figure out what was going on your own, not come to me so you could ask questions about it. I can’t do that, not when the revelation of this secret could cost me something very dear to me, even I did only discover its existence a short time ago.”
“You’re confusing me,” Hermione stated.
Knowing that they were in the library—a place of quiet solitude—Apollonia fought back the giggles that emerged when Hermione announced this. Unfortunately, she could not hold it in, earning a glare from Mrs. Pince. “Hermione Granger confused; well, that’s a first. I never thought I’d see the day. I’d expect that from the boys, but not you. Not you at all.”
“Well, what are you talking about?” she asked.
“Nothing I can tell you,” Apollonia warned.
“Yeah, I guessed that,” Hermione intoned.
Apollonia nodded. “Then please explain to me why you’re here, especially after I explicitly told you that Harry and I could say nothing about anything that’s been going on. We’ve been sworn to secrecy. Hell, I wasn’t even supposed to mention any of it to Harry, but I did. I am not about to let anything slip ever again. No one can ever find out about this.”
“I can only imagine why,” Hermione remarked.
“Yeah, and I am telling you right now, you don’t ever want to learn about this; a part of me wishes I never found out this truth because it is something no one can ever know, something that only one event will ever allow this secret to be revealed to the person it’s about,” Apollonia warned, thinking of her brother and the megalomaniac who wished to kill him. It was only when his death came that Apollonia could tell Harry who she was. Until then, no one could ever know of her biggest secret, no matter how much she may have wanted someone to become aware of her family history. It was just the way it had to be. “Now, could you please leave me alone about all of this? I don’t even want to think about it.”
Hermione nodded. “Fine.”
Apollonia then moved to another corner of the library to sit in peace. “That was close.” She sighed. “I need to find some way to keep all of this quiet. Otherwise, I’m in trouble.”