Both Apollonia’s emerald green eyes and her cousin’s pale eyes widened at the admission Severus Snape made. I’m speaking amicably with my cousin? I was sure that wouldn’t happen, so sure that my cousin and I wouldn’t see eye to eye. “Dad, you cannot be serious. Even you stated yourself that the Dursleys hate magic. Consequently, they’ll hate me.” It was impossible; there was no way that Dudley Dursley could be the teen standing in front of her. Apollonia stared at the teen that was supposedly her cousin. “Are you Dudley Dursley?” she asked, hoping that the answer she received would be a resounding no.
The blond teen nodded. “Yes.”
“Damn it!” Apollonia shouted. She rounded on her father. “You know, Dad, you could have told me that there was a possibility of me running into him if I headed outside. That was not what I wanted to see when I first walked outside, not with what I know happened to Harry.”
“You are aware that I’m standing right here,” Dudley reminded.
“Oh, don’t worry,” Apollonia grumbled. “I wouldn’t forget.” There was no way she could. The fact was that, for the next two weeks, it was all she’d be reminded of. Apollonia had no choice but to spend her Christmas break with her mother’s family: Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley Dursley; and the cause of it all was Voldemort. Everything that was wrong about Apollonia Lily Evans Snape’s life came as a result of Tom Marvolo Riddle. Even Lucius Malfoy had a hand in all of this. Because of everything that happened over the years here Apollonia was getting forced to spend her Christmas break with her Muggle relatives rather than with the Malfoy family as was the norm. It simply wasn’t right.
“What do you mean by that?” Dudley asked.
“Did I not make it clear a little earlier?” Apollonia asked him. “I never wanted to come here; I’ve spoken with Harry about the type of people you guys are. And, I’ve heard the stories from my father about how Aunt Petunia treated my parents. Why would you be any different?”
“Young lady,” her father scolded.
“Shut it, Dad,” Apollonia warned.
“Mr. Dursley, if you would please lead us to your house. I really must have a talk with your mother about why my daughter must stay here,” her father said. He began striding in the direction Dudley came from, his black robes billowing behind them just as they always did. Apollonia grimaced and followed her father; as far as she knew Dudley was just behind her.
Apollonia was silent as the trio of people that never would have normally appeared together headed towards Number 4 Privet Drive. She kept to herself, not wanting to associate with these people. Even if Dudley’s disposition towards her differed in comparison to her brother, Apollonia could not believe that her cousin would simply change. Dudley acted so much like his parents for so many years—at least that’s what she heard—that it would be hard for him to give it up so easily; all three of the Dursleys utterly despised magic. What would be so different here? This whole Christmas break is going to be a disaster, she knew. I don’t know what Dad was thinking when he thought I should come here. He knows how bad these people are; Dad grew up with Mum and Aunt Petunia.
Dudley opened the door to his house, letting Apollonia and her father in. “Mum is at the store and Dad’s at work, I think,” Dudley explained. “Dad should be gone all day, but I’m not so sure about Mum; she could be back at any time.” He turned to the older Snape to address him directly. “How is she even my cousin? I thought Harry was the only child Aunt Lily had.”
“To the public, yes,” her father replied.
“So, no one knows?” he asked.
“Correct,” the older Snape stated.
The younger Snape attempted to remain calm. She could show no signs that anyone else knew of whom she truly was. Hermione’s knowledge of the Snape secret was to remain between the two girls; no one else was ever allowed to know, else she’d be in danger. Apollonia glanced between her father and her cousin, wondering if either one of them could see through her mask. It was immensely important for this to remain quiet; the younger Snape couldn’t be sure of what would happen if anyone found out the truth. “Dad, can we please move on from this topic?” she asked. “I don’t wish to be reminded of this.”
Her father onyx-colored eyes narrowed, seemingly searching her emerald gaze for any reason behind the request. Apollonia’s gaze, however, remained stoic, untraceable to father’s penetrating gaze. Never going to work, Dad; I inherited your gift of Occulemency. Teaching me was a mistake as I’m just as good as you. Then, there was also the fact that her mother was the brightest witch of her age, Hermione’s predecessor in that respect. As Apollonia grew up, her father never failed to mention how smart Lily Potter was. It was never mentioned that she was the girl’s mother, simply that her father respected her intelligence. Her father’s hand slipped into his robe. “Oh, yes. I almost forget something.” He handed his daughter something that appeared to be normal galleon. “Miss Granger, for whatever reason, asked that I get this to you. Why might she ask me of that, do you suppose?”
Apollonia shrugged. “I cannot say.” She slipped the coin—which, based on her last conversation with Hermione, probably had the Protean Charm cast upon it—into her pocket and turned to her cousin. “When is Aunt Petunia supposed to get back?” she asked him.
Dudley shrugged. “Not a clue.”
“Well, I would like to get this over with,” she grunted. “Aunt Petunia won’t take my appearance in stride, a niece she knew nothing about. This is the calm before the storm.”
“Yes, you should have seen how berserk Mum and Dad went when Harry got his letter,” Dudley mumbled. “We had to leave the house because of everything that was happening. And then, when that giant came to collect my cousin; well, let’s just say I’ll never forget it.”
Apollonia could hear a slight twinge of disgust in her cousin’s voice as he mentioned this particular encounter. “What happened?” she cajoled, wanting to know what was so bad about her brother’s first true interaction with that of the Wizarding World that her cousin would never forget what happened. It had to be something big else Dudley would never mention it, even to a cousin. But, the question was what the event her cousin had probably never even mentioned prior to this? “Let’s hear it then; what happened?”
“Iwasturnedintoapig!” came the rushed response.
“I’m sorry. Repeat? And slower,” she insisted.
“I was turned into a pig,” he repeated slowly.
Apollonia burst out laughing at that admission, and not because she was laughing at her cousin. It was more so because his admission reminded her of a particular blond ferret that cropped up in fourth year. Draco’s encounter with Mad-Eye Moody—or rather Barty Crouch Jr. as she so learned from overhearing some of the conversations on the train back to King’s Cross station—had the lasting effect of him being called ferret. Apollonia was but a slight observer during those encounters and never made it known that she knew about the infamous bouncing ferret incident. “And, what did you do to get transfigured into a pig?”
“Well, it was more so that I was given a pig’s tail for eating what was supposed to be Harry’s birthday cake,” her cousin said. “It’s not really one of my proudest moments. Nor is beating up on my cousin.”
“Yes, considering all that I’ve heard about you, I was surprised that you were so receptive and accepting of me,” Apollonia noted, finally voicing her concern about this. She wondered it since first coming across her cousin and he learned of what she was. Everything she knew of her mother’s family told her that she would not be welcome here, by any of them. Surprisingly, Dudley seemed accepting of her, but it would not be the same with her aunt and uncle. Apollonia wondered why her cousin would seem so accepting of this and was determined to find out the reason for this. It wouldn’t change so suddenly unless there was a reason behind all of it. And, Apollonia was curious as to what it was.
“I came to realize something a few years back,” Dudley said quietly. “I came to see myself in a whole new light and it was not one that I liked all that much.” At Apollonia’s raised eyebrows, her cousin explained further. “It was as if I’d never be happy again.”
Before Apollonia could make any comment about any of this, her father interrupted the conversation. “The Dementors actually did some good then?” he asked. “They made you realize the type of person you became as a result of your parents’ ignorance of your behavior and Petunia’s hatred of all things magic. Good. You can repent for their mistakes by not repeating them with my daughter. She is your cousin and you will treat her as such. It would be wise for her to have an ally within the Muggle side of her family.”
“You can thank the demented thingies-”
“Dementors,” Apollonia corrected.
“Yes, well it’s thanks to them that I wouldn’t treat her as I did Harry. But, I would not expect the same courtesy from my parents if I were you. While my lessons could be easily counteracted, my parents’ hatred will not be as easily swayed; it’s much more pronounced than mine ever was. This past summer, while I avoided Harry, they made no attempt at hiding their contempt for all that was magic. They never have and I was no better when I was younger,” Dudley admitted. “But, I can promise you that I won’t be making her break miserable. If anything, that would be my parents who try to make her Christmas break a miserable one. Nothing can be done about their actions, so I apologize in advance for that.” The sound of a key sliding into a lock made him look up. “That would be Mum.”
Apollonia slipped into another room before her aunt came in so as to spy on her father and aunt’s conversation. She heard bags drop as the door opened and her aunt yelled out in anger soon after. “Severus Snape! What are you doing here?” the woman screamed.
“You haven’t changed a bit, Petunia,” the elder Snape said.
“And, why would I?” Petunia Dursley asked snidely. “With that freak nephew of mine-” Apollonia winced at her aunt’s words; was that really how Petunia Dursley thought of Harry? “-living here, what else can you expect? Do you really think that I would ever care for Harry when he brought a world I did everything to avoid into my home? I blame you for that; if not for you, my sister might have grown up normal and not into a freak.”
There was no way that Apollonia could sit idly by as her aunt insulted her parents, simply because of their magic. Aunt Petunia is a very embittered woman, Apollonia realized. Whatever went on when she was young caused her to despise Mum so much. And, I won’t stand for it. She stepped into the hall and glared at her aunt. “I would not say such things if I were you.”
“Who are you?” she accused.
“I’m his daughter,” Apollonia stated.
Petunia Dursley scoffed. “Why the hell would the freak Snape ever have a daughter? And, who would ever be willing to give Snape a daughter? No, there’s no way possible way that you could ever be Snape’s daughter. And, why are you here anyway?” she asked.
“It was your sister!” Apollonia yelled.
“My sister?” she asked.
“Yes. Your sister. I’m your niece. And, unlike Harry, I refuse to stand for your attitude. I won’t be treated like a second-class citizen the way that Harry was!” Apollonia exploded. She hated the fact that her brother had to suffer through over a decade of their constant badgering. It wasn’t right. “Harry is your family. And as am I. You don’t treat family like slaves in their own home. You were supposed to love and care for him. Instead, you and your family treated him like crap. And, for what? Spite? You are a spiteful, ungrateful woman who cares only about keeping the life she made for herself perfect.”
“Well said,” her father stated.
“Why she is here anyway?” Petunia asked.
“She will be staying here for Christmas,” her father stated. “Just as Potter has been protected here, so will my daughter. Lily’s blood runs through her veins. She’ll be safe here.”
“From what?” Petunia asked.
“The thing that killed your sister,” he warned.
“So she has to stay here?” she asked.
“Of course she does,” the elder Snape insisted. “Lily protected her son, thus protecting you and Apollonia in the process. Dumbledore made you aware of that when you were last contacted. The only reason your nephew resides with you is because Lily’s sacrifice protected anyone with Evans blood running through them. Get over your qualms with your sister and protect the only family you have left, whether it be my daughter or her brother.”
“No!” Aunt Petunia yelled.
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