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Chapter 17: Trust in Knowledge
For the next few weeks, Apollonia was cautious about letting anyone find out what was going on. Draco already knew she had spied upon him, and he was not making things any easier on her. She would check the Room of Requirement every so often, but never seemed to find him. It seemed as if her friend had taken extra precautions to ensure that no one was watching him. Apollonia hated that she was being cut off from her friend’s life; for years, he was the only one to know the truth about her. And now, she was getting cut out of his life.
With Draco slowly disappearing from her life, the invisible Slytherin turned to two Gryffindors to help her through what was happening. And, in turning to them, Apollonia knew that Draco might never speak to her ever again. She was associating with Gryffindors; not only that, but with the people he despised more than life itself: Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. The third of their group had not yet accepted that Apollonia was not like the other Slytherins, which she supposed was not going to change. She doubted it ever would. Ron Weasley never did like Slytherins, and she not only was one, but friends with a boy who hated him. There was no way that Apollonia could ever convince him to change his mind, so she wasn’t even going to try to do anything of the sort.
Apollonia hated the fact that all of this was happening to her. Ever since sixth year began, her life was changing quite drastically. Nothing would ever be as it was, and she knew that. Things were even worse since discovering that Harry was her brother. Just knowing that caused her life to spiral out of control and Apollonia suspected it was the relationship she forged with her brother that caused the rift between her and Draco, so much so that she couldn’t even spy on him to figure out what he was up to when night rolled around.
It bothered her that all of this had to occur. No one would ever truly understand how she felt, for few knew of the situation she faced in being Harry’s half-sister, and twin, from what she knew. Apollonia guessed that only her father and Dumbledore—who tried to tell her what she needed to know, in a form of a riddle—knew that her full name was Apollonia Lily Evans Snape. She doubted she’d ever talk about it, in case anyone were to eavesdrop on her conversation. And, with Harry fighting Voldemort, it was for the best.
Occulemency lessons with her father and Harry were the worst. She hated lying to Harry about what she saw that first day. Harry often inquired about what she saw in Snape’s mind when she informed him of her success in breaking through the barriers of her father’s mind. Knowing that he could never become aware of the truth though, Apollonia always found a way to evade the question. A quick change of subject to Quidditch or something of the like would always dissuade Harry from further discussing the topic. And, fortunately for her, Harry never noticed. Her brother’s stupidity had served a good thing, for once.
There always seemed to be something that bothered Apollonia. And, as time passed, she grew more and more disturbed by it. Eventually, there came a point where keeping this secret had become so difficult that Apollonia could no longer take it; she needed to tell someone the truth. “Dad,” she said one day after class, “I can’t continue keeping this secret anymore. “I need to have someone to talk to about the fact that Harry’s my brother. I shouldn’t have to keep this secret, even if it is in Harry’s best interest for me to do so.”
Her father eyed her warily. “And, you think that telling someone your secret is going to help? I doubt that. No, until the Dark Lord is defeated, you are not to repeat this to anyone, especially not your brother. If he knew that one of his family members was alive, it would only put you in danger, something I am not about to allow. I forbid you to tell anyone who you really are.”
“Fine, Dad,” Apollonia muttered.
Despite what she told her father, however, Apollonia had no intention of following through on that promise. She refused to do that. There was a way for her to tell someone what was going on, a loophole. All she had to do was find it. And, she had a pretty good idea as to how it could be done. She ran out of her father’s classroom and caught up to the person she was looking for. “Hermione, I need to ask a favor,” she intoned.
“What would a Slytherin need to ask a Gryffindor a favor for?” came the snide reply of one Ron Weasley. Hermione elbowed him. “Ow! What the bloody hell was that for?”
“She’s a friend,” Hermione replied.
“A friend!” Ron exclaimed incredulously. “In what twisted world do we live in that a Gryffindor and a Slytherin would ever be friends? It’s unheard of that something like that would ever happen. So, why don’t you go back to the dungeon and spend some time with some of the Slytherins? Maybe Malfoy? Or Snape? You’d fit right in with one of them.”
“Ron!” both Hermione and Harry yelled.
“What?’ Ron asked.
Apollonia groaned. “I’m allowed to be friends with a Gryffindor. If you knew anything about me, you’d understand why I can. My father,” she cast a knowing glance at Harry who nodded in understanding, “never really cared for the whole house rivalry; his best friend was a Gryffindor. If my father can look past the house lines and become friends with a house rival, so can I. All the houses do is group people with certain traits together; and, it has nothing to do with dark magic, since I’m on Harry’s side in all this. I’d never sit on Voldemort’s side of this fight…” she said. …even if my best friend is on that side.
“Really doubt that,” Ron muttered.
“Well, believe it, Mr. Weasley, for I’m telling the truth,” Apollonia announced. “You may think that all Slytherins are bad news, but I know that to be false. If you ever meet my father-” Harry snickered, “-you could ask him yourself about the life he led during his school years.”
“And, who the hell is your father?” Ron asked.
Harry laughed. “Mate, you don’t want to know.”
“You do,” Ron argued with Harry. “Why can’t I?”
“Maybe because of whom my father is,” Apollonia grumbled so only Harry could hear. Harry nodded in agreement. “Telling will only cause you to assume the worst of me—considering who I am—and I cannot afford allowing that to happen. Things will only end badly if you were to learn my father’s identity. I trust Harry to keep my secret because of something only I will ever know about; maybe even Hermione, but never you.”
“Why not?” he wondered.
“Because you hate my father,” she explained.
“Whatever,” Ron grunted.
Ron soon left, with Harry quick to follow. Hermione was then left with only Apollonia for company. “What’s the favor you need?” she asked. “What do you want of me?”
Though she knew she would have to endure a lecture from her father regarding what she was about to do, Apollonia knew that this was necessary, and the right thing to do. Someone needed to know. Harry couldn’t know; Ron hated her for no reason; Hermione seemed the perfect person. And, she wasn’t the brightest witch of her age for nothing. Even if Apollonia didn’t tell her what was going on, Hermione would find out on her own. Apollonia pulled Hermione into an empty classroom. Upon making sure that no one was around, she cast a Silencing Charm on the room and turned to Hermione. “Since you last asked about what was going on—something neither Harry nor I could ever tell you—have you come to realize what secret I’m hiding?” she asked, beginning with a question from weeks before.
“Nothing really. But, it does seem as if you’re closer to Snape than any other student in the school, even more so than Malfoy,” Hermione answered. “I can only wonder why that is though; there’s no indication of any reason for…” Before could finish, Apollonia could tell that something had clicked inside Hermione’s head. She had finally come to realize what Harry and Draco had before her. “Wait, it’s him, isn’t it? Snape is who you were talking about to Ron.” She laughed. “Ron would flip if he knew you’re a Snape.”
“And, that’s the reason he was never told,” Apollonia warned Hermione. “Only a handful of people know who I really am: the teachers, Dumbledore, you, Harry, and Draco.”
“Malfoy knows?” she asked.
“First person I told,” Apollonia explained.
“How long has he known?”
“Since the end of first year,” she replied.
Hermione nodded knowingly. “Explains your friendship with him. But, there’s one thing bugging me.” Apollonia looked at her expectantly, wondering what she would mention. “During the Sorting Ceremony, there was no mention of a Snape child; I think the name you went by was Evans, same as Harry’s mother. You actually have the same color eyes as her; I remember hearing that Harry has his mother’s eyes. Well, so do you. Wait, that would make you…”
Apollonia nodded, knowing where she was going with this. “Yes. Yes I am. And, please don’t repeat that either. Especially not to Harry, for he must never know who I truly am.”
“But, that makes no sense,” Hermione reasoned. “Of all people, he needs to know who you really are. Since you’re a Slytherin, you wouldn’t know that Harry never really had a true family; his aunt, uncle, and cousin all despised him. Knowing that he has you could help him; Harry needs a family member who will stick by him through everything that happens, what with Voldemort gaining power. He has me and all the Weasleys, but it really isn’t enough; you’re his sister and he needs you to stick by him throughout everything.”
“That’s exactly why I can’t,” Apollonia argued.
“Why?’ Hermione asked.
“Because of the events from fourth year,” she reminded the bushy-haired muggleborn. “My connection to Harry is one that not even Voldemort is aware of. And, so that it will stay that way, Harry must never find out. My father once told me that Harry has a link into Voldemort’s head through the scar; Voldemort could use that to find out who my mother is. And, if he ever does, there’s no telling as to what might happen. No, it must remain quiet.”
“And, you tell me?” Hermione asked.
“I did,” Apollonia intoned.
“Why me?” she asked. “Why not Malfoy?”
Ah! The question I was waiting for. Why the hell didn’t I tell Draco first? Oh, wait, I remember; he’s too busy to care about me and the issue I face because Harry’s my brother. Not to mention the fact that he’s a Death Eater—though I have never seen the Dark Mark on his arm—and would be forced to reveal my secret. She sighed. “I have my reasons for not telling him. Not telling him is for the best. Draco mustn’t find out about this, for his own sake.”
“If you don’t trust your own friend to keep a secret like that from the enemy—even if it is Malfoy—there must be something very wrong with this picture,” Hermione realized. “But, you said this had to be kept a secret. Why would you tell me about this then? Shouldn’t you have kept this a secret from everyone like you were obviously supposed to?”
Apollonia nodded. “I should have, but I couldn’t. I needed to have someone other than my father know about this. Harry can’t know; neither can Draco. And, with Ron believing I’m up to no good, I figured telling you would be for the best since, as the brightest witch of our age, you were bound to find out anyway. And, with that knowledge comes the favor I must ask of you: I need you to keep an eye on Harry for me. As Voldemort grows stronger and tries to go after Harry, I need to make sure that he’s okay, that nothing happens to him.”
“While I agree with you that Malfoy shouldn’t know, I think Harry needs to. Even if your father doesn’t want you to, for fear of you being used against Harry, your brother needs to know. The Dursleys need to know as well since you’re their niece,” Hermione explained.
“I doubt they’ll even care,” Apollonia scoffed. Apollonia never heard Harry speak of his relatives and she understood why; from what she heard from her father, Petunia Dursley’s family despised her sister. If they ever found out that Lily Potter had another child, the Dursleys would not take too kindly to that fact. “Just because I’m related to them doesn’t mean they’ll care a thing about me; look at how they treat Harry. Their treatment of me will be no different.”
“So, you’re never telling anyone else?” Hermione asked.
Apollonia shook her head. “No; never. They can never know who I really am. Now, I’m going to need you to watch over Harry then for me. As for me, I must focus on ensuring that nothing happens in school that shouldn’t be. I need to ensure that nothing happens this year that might spell disaster for my father come June. I will not allow history to continue to repeat itself; it’s just not an option,” Apollonia muttered, things about all the possibilities she faced if her father was ousted of the school. And, if anyone other than the people who knew who her father was, Apollonia was certain that she would be faced with taunting for what was sure to happen next June if she sat around doing absolutely nothing.
Hermione shrugged. “If you’re sure. But, I still think that you should tell him, even if it does put you in danger. Harry needs to know that he has a family member out there who cares about him.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Apollonia stated. The two went their separate ways, with Apollonia going down to the Slytherin common room for her free period. Whenever she was unable to locate Draco, this was where she spent her free time. And, as much as she hated it, Apollonia knew that, for right now, it was for the best. Now that she was becoming closer to her brother and Hermione, there was no way that Draco would ever want to go anywhere near her; she befriended the people he hated the most. The cold, distant Draco Malfoy that never showed itself around the younger Snape when they were growing up—the front he used towards everyone else—finally appeared at the beginning of the school year.
With Draco masking his true persona from her, Apollonia had no choice but to turn to the people he hated the most: her twin brother and his two closest friends. Her longstanding friendship with the boy known as the Slytherin Prince was crumbling around her, simply due to the fact that Draco seemed to care more about what he was doing in the Room of Requirement than her. Apollonia was forced to play second fiddle to whatever work he was doing while he was in there; something Apollonia was still unsure of, even after spending several days spy on him. “I hate this,” Apollonia muttered as she stared at the wall. “My whole life is getting ruined simply because Voldemort exists; my best friend is a Death Eater and my brother is marked for death. How could my life get any worse?”
“You exist!” a girl screeched.
Apollonia grimaced. “Get out of here, Pansy!”
“No!” she yelled angrily.
“You’re going to regret speaking to me like this,” Apollonia said in a sing-song voice. “When my father finds out what you’ve been doing, life as you know it will be over. I’m the mot important person in his life and here you are insulting me. Pansy, you better get used to hell; it’s what you’ll be living when my father learns of how you treat me.”
“No he won’t,” Pansy insisted.
“And, when he does, you’ll regret it,” Apollonia warned. Just once Apollonia wanted her father to let her tell her secret—the secret she had kept hidden from everyone for years—maybe to bring Pansy down off her high horse. Apollonia spent five and a half years suffering through the girl’s torture, simply because no one aside from her father and Draco was ever allowed to know her secret. Her father’s order from six years ago when his daughter received her Hogwarts letter caused Apollonia to lead a miserable life; her Hogwarts career up until this point was lived as the invisible Slytherin, someone no one knew existed. The only person who ever cared about her aside from her father was someone who only showed it during the summer months; Draco never seemed to care about her unless it was done in secret. And, she hated that; she hated that her best friend in the world only ever wanted to associate with her when no one else was around. That was the part that bothered her; Apollonia was always okay with being invisible, so long as Draco didn’t ignore her. But, since that was exactly what happened, Apollonia had to suffer.
Pansy scoffed. “That’ll be the day.”
Apollonia grimaced and grabbed her things. There was no way she could stand this any longer. It was only the middle of December and there was still half a year left before Apollonia didn’t have to worry about Pansy’s incessant complaining, at least for a few months. “This has to end,” Apollonia whispered as she left the Slytherin common room.