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Chapter 22: Dumbledore's Spy
Severus Snape gave no indication that any of this was to be expected. He knew exactly how Petunia would react and that was before even coming here. It was the same way that she reacted to the magic he and Lily possessed. Petunia Dursley despised the magic her younger sister was gifted with. Yet, it was the only way to protect his daughter. The woman who hated magic with such conviction was the only person who could protect her from the terrors afflicting the Wizarding World at the moment. And, when it came time to fulfill his obligation to Dumbledore, Lily’s older sister was the only one who could watch over Apollonia.
That was his reason for doing this. Severus intended on coming to speak with Petunia about Apollonia coming here for one summer, the time before her seventeenth birthday. The Dark Lord arriving at Malfoy Manor simply sped up the process. Apollonia had to stay here at her aunt’s house, no matter what Petunia’s feelings on the matter were. “I’m afraid that simply can’t happen, Petunia. Lily’s and my daughter will stay here not only for Christmas, but throughout the summer as well. And, you, Petunia, will not refute that.”
“Dad, summer too?” his daughter asked.
“Yes, summer too,” Severus warned his daughter. “And don’t even try arguing with me about that one, Apollonia. You were given a warning of what has been going on at Malfoy Manor. You know you cannot go back there until all of this is over.” Then there was also his duties as a spy, the main reason Apollonia was to spend her summers and breaks at Malfoy Manor. With what happened to her mother, Severus never wished for his daughter to be a part of this life; she was safer—as Potter’s sister—if she knew nothing of the war.
“Fine,” Apollonia mumbled.
Severus pointed upstairs. “Both of you upstairs now. Petunia and I need to have a little talk and I really can’t have you two overhearing any of this.” He needed to have a private conversation with Petunia about her behavior towards everything magic-related. Dudley and Apollonia were not to be a part of that conversation, despite the conversation revolving around them. Once both his daughter and her cousin trooped upstairs, Severus turned his attention to Petunia Dursley. “Just because you hated your sister’s magic doesn’t give you the right to instill the same hatred within your husband and son. I never thought I’d hear myself saying this, but I’m glad that Dementor caught your son and Potter; it made my job a whole easier knowing that my daughter’s cousin would at least be able to help her. You and Vernon will never make it easy on her while she’s here,” Severus sneered.
“She will not stay here,” Petunia insisted.
“You are mistaken, Petunia,” Severus replied. “She is your niece; in fact, her middle name is that of your sister’s. Try to remember that when your husband asks why she’s here. I’m sure Vernon won’t take too kindly to the fact that there is a witch in his home. And after all that he’s done to ensure that his home was magic-free.” Severus deliberately let that one slip, hoping it might ignite something in Petunia Dursley. Vernon Dursley and Tobias Snape couldn’t be that different. And, Potter did seem rather oblivious to the Wizarding World when he first arrived at Hogwarts five and a half years ago.
“What are you talking about, Snape?” Petunia enquired.
“Simply a suspicion,” Severus replied. “Now, if I were you, Tuney, I’d watch over Apollonia. Your sister may one day come to haunt you for what’s you’ve been doing. And, to incur my wrath would not be a wise decision, as you so remember. Keep that in mind when you explain things to your husband; Vernon will not respond well when he learns what she is.” Severus then seemingly took his leave, putting the embittered blonde’s mind at ease. She would never know that it only appeared as if he left; that Severus had no intention of simply leaving his daughter with relatives that hated her because of the magic she possessed. Only her cousin seemed to have accepted her and that was only because of Potter’s ghastly luck. But, Vernon and Petunia Dursley’s opinions regarding magic would not be swayed so easily. All Severus could do was watch over his daughter—cloaked in the shadows—until he knew that she would be okay.
When the portly man that was Vernon Dursley came plundering into his house, he showed no signs of noticing that there was anything different. Though, as Severus did take care to notice, his daughter and her cousin were upstairs, away from sight as they spoke. Vernon, the great oaf, had yet to see Apollonia within the place. It was probably a good thing as Vernon would go ballistic if he knew there was a witch was staying with him. Even if she’s in danger here, Severus reasoned, it’s safer than being around the Dark Lord. I made assurances that my daughter would stay out of the war. I’m not about to lose the last piece of Lily I have left. I’ve done everything in my power to protect her and her brother; I’m not about to stop now. Vernon Dursley was detrimental to their survival however. Potter was already damaged by the man; he would not allow it happen to Apollonia.
“Petunia!” Vernon bellowed. “Where’s dinner?”
“It should be ready soon,” Lily’s sister replied.
Severus scoffed from his cloaked position. The great git. He doesn’t seem to have noticed how visibly shaken his wife is from my encounter with her. All he cares about is food. Throughout most of the afternoon, Severus watched as Petunia Dursley trembled; her tolerance for magical folk was slim, even growing up, and it was usually Severus whom could throw Petunia over the edge. Two Snapes being in her house would have made sure that Petunia went off the deep end. And, Apollonia still being inside—whether upstairs or not—seemed to have kept Petunia in such a state; to Vernon Dursley’s ignorant gaze.
“Where’s Dudley?” Vernon inquired. “He should be here.”
“Up-upstairs,” Petunia stammered.
“Get him down here then,” the man boomed.
Petunia called. “Duddikins! Time for dinner.”
Several minutes passed before Dudley and Apollonia emerged from the upper echelon of the house. A look passed between all four current occupants of the house before the question Severus knew was coming got asked, by Vernon Dursley as was expected. “Dudley, who is this?” he asked, gesturing to Apollonia. “And, what may I ask, is she doing here?” There was a look of confusion on the man’s place, as if her appearing within their home by magic shocked him to the very core. This is not going to end well, Severus knew.
“She’s a friend,” Dudley answered before his mother got the chance. “Apollonia dropped by earlier today saying that she needed a place to stay for Christmas. Something happened and she was incapable of going home for the holidays. So, I offered her a place to stay.”
Good, Severus thought. Better it be handled by someone who can keep their composure. Petunia would crack and the secret would be out. If Dudley is willing to protect his cousin’s secret, then I may not have much to worry about, not until she and Potter come back for summer. Severus left his cloaked position and apparated to Hogsmeade. There was no reason for him to stay there if Dudley Dursley was protecting the secret. Only until summer break. Then the secret will unravel and I might not be there to stop it.