Apollonia let out a low gasp when she heard her father’s suggestion. There had been no doubt as to where the suggestion came from; it was Draco. He was trying to do the same as Narcissa; keep her away from Voldemort. “Dad, no! Why to I have to go there?” she asked.
“You’re safest there,” he replied simply.
“Why?” she asked.
“Thanks to your mother’s sacrifice for Potter,” her father scoffed, “anyone who has Lily’s blood running through their veins will be protected from the Dark Lord’s grasp. You’re safest there where the wards Dumbledore placed will protect you. I never used it to protect you because the Malfoys agreed to protect you. Since that is no longer an option, you must spend your Christmas holiday there. As much as they despise it—the same goes for Potter—you are their blood and they must protect you, at least until your mother’s protection becomes void on yours and Potter’s seventeenth birthday—July 31st.”
“Seven months?” Apollonia asked.
“Yes. But, the issue we are currently faced with is that neither your mother nor I ever bothered to inform Petunia and Vernon Dursley of your existence. How they will receive your sudden appearance in their lives remains a mystery. We will deal with that tomorrow when I apparate you to Arabella Figg’s home and journey from there to your aunt’s. Since I must also send you back there for the summer, they might as well get used to your existence. And might I suggest that, while you’re there, you attempt to have a little chat with them regarding their treatment of your brother. Perhaps you can convince them where others could not.”
“Huh?” she asked.
“Petunia was always jealous that your mother and I had magic,” her father explained to his daughter. “She coped by calling us freaks. This jealously turned into a deeply-rooted hatred, one that she passed on to her son and husband. It is the reason your brother had such a difficult childhood. Petunia’s disgust for all things pertaining to the magical world runs deep. But, perhaps you can heal that disgust through her son, your cousin, Dudley.”
“Wouldn’t he be the same way?” Apollonia asked.
“From what I have heard from Arabella, your cousin’s near-death experience before the start of your fifth year caused him to change. He’s slightly more pleasant now; however, it’s not by much,” he replied solemnly. “It’s quite possible you can help it along a little.”
“I don’t know, Dad. I still think it’s a bad idea,” Apollonia stated. “Just because Dudley is must more pleasant doesn’t mean that I should step in to help all of this along. And besides, I’d rather spend my Christmas here at the school rather than with relatives that hate me.”
“Absolutely not!” he screamed. “Apollonia Lily Evans Snape! You are going to your aunt’s and uncle’s house, for I shall be taking you there myself. Even if the Dark Lord become aware of your connection to Potter—which I doubt he will since only Lucius Malfoy would ever be willing to tell him, and he is currently sitting in an Azkaban jail cell—your safety will be ensured because you are under the protection of your mother’s love.”
“But,” she protested.
“No, buts. You’re going.”
Apollonia scowled and headed straight for the Slytherin common room. This is not going to be a very enjoyable Christmas. I’ll be spending time with people who are sure to hate me simply because of my magic. That was her last thought for the night before slipping into a deep slumber that she could only be roused from by the sound of her roommates doing some last minute packing for the holidays. I should be doing the same, Apollonia thought bitterly. I should be on my way out to Malfoy Manor rather going to see my aunt and uncle. Begrudgingly, Apollonia got out of bed and headed out to the Great Hall; she wished to speak with Harry or Hermione before they left for Christmas break. Long ago had Apollonia given up hope that Draco might say goodbye to her before he left; his scathing remarks towards her made the young Snape perfectly aware of the fact that she would be incapable of saying a proper goodbye to her Death Eater friend.
When she arrived at her destination, Apollonia found that neither one of her intended targets were standing in the Great Hall. And, as she found no sign of Ron or Ginny Weasley, it became clear to her that they had already left. Why couldn’t this have gone my way? Apollonia wondered. But, it seemed as if nothing was going her way; nothing had gone her way since the day she was born. Since her brother was born to fulfill a prophecy, all Apollonia could do was wait for the day to come when her twin brother became the savior he was meant to be. All she could do though was wonder when that was. Apollonia let out a heavy sigh and slumped down onto one of the benches at the Slytherin table.
The younger Snape sat there for awhile before she noticed her father waving her over. Apollonia grimaced as she headed through the emptied Great Hall to where her father and the rest of the staff sat. “Yes, Dad?” she asked in a whisper; some of the teachers seated at the staff table at the moment were unaware of her parentage and she wished to keep it that way.
“Summon your things and come with me,” he stated.
Apollonia waited until they were in the headmaster’s office to nonverbally summon her things to her side. “Okay, Dad. Exactly why do I need to have my things here?”
“Because we are going to Surrey,” her father stated.
“Why not take the train?” Apollonia asked.
“No one is aware of your true parentage. It would seem weird to all those around if I was to take you to your aunt’s home,” her father reminded her. “And, as you are known for spending your holidays with the Malfoys, it might seem odd that you would not do so this year. Dumbledore’s office is the only place that can be used to keep everyone unaware of your true identity. Floo to Arabella Figg’s; I will be right behind along with your things.”
After hearing the address of her destination, Apollonia took a handful of Floo powder and threw it into the fire. “10 Wisteria Walk!” the younger Snape called. Green flames engulfed her for a moment before she stepped out into the home of one Arabella Figg. A woman with frizzy gray hair petting a fluffy black cat was the first thing in Apollonia’s line of sight as she stepped from the fireplace into the house and dusted the soot off herself. “Arabella Figg?” the younger Snape asked. If this woman lived so close to Harry, it was possible that Apollonia could ask about her brother or even the family she knew nothing about.
The woman nodded. “I am, Ms. Snape.”
“You know who I am?” she asked.
“Of course she knows who you are,” her father’s chilling voice came from behind her. “Arabella is your brother’s protector while he’s here for the summer. And yes; she is aware of your mother.”
“I sort of figured out that one on my own, Dad. Now can we please get on with this?” she asked. “My holiday is sure to be a pain the ass if I’m supposed to spend it with people who hate me; people who have no idea that I’m even set to arrive. Surely, you never told Aunt Petunia that I was to spend Christmas here. I’m a witch and Mum’s side of the family abhors such a thing.”
“You must still stay there,” her father warned.
“Yeah, yeah. I know,” the Slytherin mumbled. “In fact, I shouldn’t even be doing this. It should really be Harry who patches things up with Mum’s family. Don’t ask me to do such a thing.” Even if it was her mother’s family, Apollonia would rather be oblivious to their existence than suffer through their company. From what Apollonia discovered about them through her father and Hermione, they were despicable people and didn’t deserve to spend time with her. She stomped away from her father and headed outside into the cold. Not really caring all that much about where she was headed—simply wanting to get away from her father’s unorthodox request—Apollonia walked down the street. She would rather be lost than meet with her cousin, aunt, and uncle. “Why can’t he ask someone else? Why me?”
“Why you what?” an unfamiliar male voice asked.
Apollonia turned around and saw a large blond teen standing in front of her. “Look, you wouldn’t understand, okay? My life is unbearable at the moment; my brother has no idea who I am, my best friend is ignoring me, my mother’s dead, and my father is intent on trying to force me to spend time with family who not only is ignorant of my existence, but would probably hate me because of what I am. I don’t want to think about it.”
“Okay? So, where are you going?” he asked.
“To spend Christmas with my mother’s family,” she grimaced. “It’s supposed to be about two weeks of torture.” Apollonia hated that this would be the one Christmas where she wouldn’t be around people who cared about her. No matter how much her father attempted to kid himself, Apollonia was sure that she’d have a terrible Christmas. There was no way around it.
“Apollonia Lily Evans Snape! Do not storm away from me!” her father declared, gliding up beside her. “Whether you like it or not, you must go to your aunt’s and uncle’s.”
“We both know how they’ll react,” Apollonia countered.
“You might want to ask your cousin that,” he responded.
Apollonia eyed her father. “What in the world are you talking about, Dad?” That last statement confused her. How could she possibly ask her cousin if her assumption was accurate? They were nowhere near where her aunt lived; she was quite sure of that, despite the fact that Apollonia had never been there before. “Tell me how this is possible.”
“Your cousin,” her father stated, “is standing before you.”
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