Since the disagreement on their first day about Apollonia’s secret, it was made clear to Apollonia that Draco wanted nothing to do with her. Every time Apollonia tried to get close to Draco, he’d shift away, as if the very sight of her disgusted him. Considering that Apollonia did imply that she might talk with Harry, Ron, and Hermione about who her father was, she suspected that might have something to do with it. For years, only Draco knew the truth, only he ever knew who her father was. It was what the two bonded over: her father. He’s jealous, her conscience was telling her. He wants only the two of you to know.
A part of her knew this to be the truth. She only even became friends with Draco Malfoy because of who he discovered her father to be. Clearly, Draco wanted this bond to remain intact; he wanted no one—save him and her father—to know the truth. This was pure conjecture though; not speaking with Draco—or even being around him so as to keep her word to Narcissa—made Apollonia unsure, unclear as to Draco’s true motive for becoming so enraged with her. So, Apollonia went back to her former self, her place as the invisible Slytherin.
Weeks went by in this fashion, and, despite not being around him, Apollonia could see a change in her childhood friend. These days, Draco Malfoy seemed to have an even greater temper, snapping at anyone who came near him; even Pansy was not impervious to the boy’s temper. Dark circles formed under his eyes, his skin paling even more; it was as if he stayed up all night working on homework, a fact Apollonia knew to be false after Draco got in trouble for not completing numerous Transfiguration assignments and getting detention for it. No one seemed to know anything about it, but there were suspicions—mostly coming from Harry—that Draco was a Death Eater. Apollonia highly doubted that since there was no way Voldemort would use a teenager as a Death Eater.
There were times that Apollonia knew she needed to follow Draco, but there was no way he would knowingly let her follow him. She needed to find a way to follow Draco without his knowledge. What was she supposed to use to accomplish such a thing though? It wasn’t like there was anything here at Hogwarts that might aid her in watching over Draco while remaining undetected, at least by him. For Apollonia, it was the puzzle of the century, and it needed to be solved fast. If not, there was no telling to what might be occurring in Draco’s life.
Not even turning to her father—as if she ever would—could help her with this situation. It was a dilemma she needed to face on her own. The task Narcissa presented her with six weeks ago forced Apollonia to do this on her own. Apollonia glanced up from her place at the end of the Slytherin table, her normal seat over the years. Draco was seated there, chatting with Crabbe and Goyle. From across the room, Apollonia could almost tell that they were talking about her; and, it could be nothing good. “I suggest one thing, and this happens.”
“You should have kept that to yourself,” a voice said.
Without turning around, Apollonia knew that voice. Hearing it for the past sixteen years allowed that to occur. “Dad,” she asked in a low voice, “what are you doing here? I would have expected you to prepare for today’s class, and not coming to see your daughter, whom few people even know about to begin with.” She was speaking of herself and Draco, for Apollonia had not yet revealed the truth to the Gryffindor trio Draco despised. Although that was her initial plan, things changed when she realized what Draco’s intent was: to preserve the bond between them, a bond broken once Apollonia revealed who she really was.
“My office, ten minutes,” her father announced coldly.
Wanting to respond to her father’s sudden message, Apollonia spun around, but rather found that he was gone. As fast as he was there, he was gone. “What does my father want?”
Begrudgingly, Apollonia finished her breakfast and left the Great Hall to see her father. She passed Harry as she did. He was quietly muttering something to himself, but Apollonia could hear every word. “Why doesn’t anyone believe me about Malfoy? I saw him that day in Diagon Alley; he was up to no good. If only someone was with me. Maybe then, someone would believe me, and we might even know who cursed Katie,” he said.
Apollonia recalled the incident. One of the Gryffindors, Katie Bell, was cursed during a Hogsmeade trip a short time ago and would probably be out for the year. No one knew who the culprit was, but it seemed as if Harry had his suspicions. “Harry,” she said, approaching him, “why exactly would Draco be a Death Eater; he’s still in school, still learning.”
“Not the point,” Harry stated. “So long as Dumbledore’s around, the school and its students are safe from Voldemort. By recruiting a student to be a Death Eater, he could be plotting to get inside the school, the one place that has always been a safe haven from Voldemort.”
“Do you have any proof?” Apollonia asked.
“Uh…well, no,” Harry murmured.
Apollonia nodded. “I thought as much. Look, Harry, I can tell you this right now; no one’s ever going to believe you about this without any proof. I know I certainly won’t. Now, if you can provide me with some evidence that Draco Malfoy is a Death Eater, I’ll believe what you say about him. Considering how close he and I are, that’s saying something.”
“Thanks,” Harry said.
“No problem, Harry,” Apollonia said.
“Later,” Harry mumbled.
Once Harry disappeared, Apollonia headed back on her way to her father’s office. She still had no clue what he might want from her, but she could be sure that it was nothing good. After all the times that her father stepped in to break up potential arguments between her and Pansy, this meeting could very well deal with that. She arrived at her father’s office and rapped softly on the door. “Enter,” her father’s voice beckoned.
Apollonia did as she was told, standing at the threshold of the door while her father was busy grading papers. The acceptance of her father’s new position in the school had not yet come, nor would it ever. She wanted nothing more than to see her father back in the dungeons, back where he belonged. Not wanting to accept that a terrible fate awaited her father, Apollonia chose to remain as far as she possibly could from him. The impending conversation with her father was no one she wanted to have. She had no choice in the matter though; he was the one to approach her, and it would not seem right to refuse a professor’s request, even if it was her father. “You wanted to see me, Dad?” she asked.
Coal-colored eyes looked up. “Close the door, Apollonia.”
Knowing that her father wanted privacy so he could speak with daughter, Apollonia did as she was asked; under any other circumstance, she wouldn’t have done it. She wanted nothing to do with her father, and he clearly knew that. Why else would she have had very little contact with her father within the past few months? For whatever reason, he chose now to hold a civil conversation with her. “What’s going on, Dad?” she asked.
“I can sense something is troubling you,” her father replied.
Apollonia hung her head. “Oh.”
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
As much as she wanted to get this off her chest, telling her father of the incident between her and Draco seemed a bad idea. Besides, Apollonia was still not in any mood to confide in her father of her problems with his position as the Dark Arts professor. Furthermore, it was not a topic to be discussed in their current environment, when Apollonia would be required to attend class before her story was told in full. “It’s a long story, Dad.”
“A summation will suffice,” her father replied.
This was not the answer Apollonia expected to receive from her father. She hoped that he might drop this and allow his daughter to go about her day. Clearly, her father had others things in mind and the teen had no choice but to inform her father of all that transpired these past few weeks. “When it comes right down to it, you’re the cause of what happened. If you never accepted the Dark Arts post, I’d still be on good terms with Draco, and have an easier time watching over him. That was what he and I fought over: my wanting to tell the three worst people possible who you really are. I want someone other than him to know what I deal with, yet he doesn’t seem to understand just how much I need to talk with someone who understands who I feel about you teaching a jinxed course.”
“Potter, Granger, and Weasley,” he said knowingly.
Apollonia nodded. “Yes.”
“I’m afraid things must remain as they are between you and Mr. Malfoy for the moment. It is for the best,” her father explained. “And, as much I despise Potter, you are right. Befriending him is in your best interest. The boy openly despises me—and I him—but the Boy-Who-Lived is good for something. Potter can help you complete the task asked of you. Do as you intended and befriend him. I suggest not telling him who you are quite yet; Potter’s temper is infamous, and would not do you well to enrage the boy. Over the years, I have noticed that Potter and his little friends are always the ones to appear when something happens; his father was the same way when we were in school. I have my suspicions as to how this occurred, and you can confirm this. If it is what I think it is, there should be a way for you to use it to complete the task Narcissa Malfoy set forth for you to complete.”
Unsure of what her father was talking about, Apollonia questioned him about it. Her father knew something he wasn’t saying. And, if she was to follow her father’s advice, she needed to know everything that had been going on. It was necessary for this to work. “Dad, what do you mean? What could Harry possibly have that could help me with this?”
“When the time comes, Potter will tell you himself. I cannot do so, for only he and Dumbledore know the exact nature of what it is you need,” Snape said. “Now, be off. Classes begin shortly and I would not want my daughter to be late, even if I was talking with you.”
Apollonia said goodbye to her father for the moment—knowing she’d see him later in the day—and emerged from her father’s office feeling rather confused. It sounded as if her father was trying to keep her away from Draco for the moment, for whatever reason. Her father was pushed her towards Harry, which was most unlike him; the man would do anything he could in order to bother Harry. Why then, was her father intent on getting his daughter to become friends with him? As she made way down to the dungeon to grab her things, she came to a conclusion regarding her father: he was using his daughter to get close to Harry, for whatever reason. What could my father possibly want out of Harry? And, what could Harry have that could help me deal with watching over Draco? There was clearly something going on; however, she didn’t know what it could possibly be.
Then, there was her argument with Draco. To a certain extent, her father was right. If Apollonia was to become friends with Harry, any friendship she had with Draco would cease to exist. It was already crumbling around her anyway. After their argument at the beginning of the school year, he wanted nothing to do with Apollonia. Considering the reason for their argument, their fight would only continue once it became common knowledge that Apollonia intended on befriending Harry. Already the invisible Slytherin, she would be shunned by the Slytherins even further for associating herself with Harry and his friends. It’s a price I have to pay, Apollonia thought. Dad must have a good reason for pushing me away from Draco and pushing me towards Harry. Whatever he has planned will surely help me in the long run; I just have to find out in what way that is.
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