Throughout much of the Snape funeral, Harry kept a close eye on two people: his twin sister and George Weasley. Given what he knew about his sister and the relationship she had with her father, Harry was sure that she’d be grieving for the man, the only one to do so to such a degree. Apollonia—and perhaps Malfoy—were the only students close enough to Snape for him to actually care about either of them; of course she would be affected by what happened at the Shrieking Shack. It was the reason that Harry needed to keep watch over his twin sister, to make sure that she was okay as her father was laid to rest.
No one was actually aware of the fact that Harry kept watch over his sister. And, if they did, they didn’t say anything. She was the only family that Harry really had. Well, not the only family, just the only family he cared about. While everyone attending the funeral was aware of the fact that Apollonia was his sister, courtesy of Lee Jordan and Potterwatch, they knew nothing of how important she was to him. After all that he did to her during the last year, this was his only chance at trying to make up for anything he did to her. Very few people would ever know how important family was to him, and he doubted that they ever would.
At one point, Harry saw his sister slip away from the service and go into the Forbidden Forest. He intended on going after her, but was forced to give a speech about the man. He was the only one willing to do it, so he had no way of going to help his sister, especially when he heard a voice he knew all too well coming from the forest. Whatever was going on in there, she was pretty pissed. By the time Harry was finished his speech, however, Apollonia was back and he was unable to figure out what was going on with her. And, just when Harry got the chance to ask her about it, she ignored him and headed up to the castle while everyone else got ready to leave Hogwarts, to return to their normal lives.
During the time that his sister was up at the castle, Harry soon came to notice that Lee, Angelina, Alicia, Katie, and Oliver were attempting to coerce George into joining the conversation. All attempts were made in vain though; George remained silent, much like he would have if he stayed at the Burrow. It almost seemed as if George was avoiding his friends, merely because they reminded him of Fred. Something has to be done about him. He can’t just sit and sulk. Apollonia might be the only one that could help him though, given what George told him. Through the use of their deal, Fred was able to learn that Apollonia and Harry were siblings, and insisted that she watch over George. So long as it remained that way—as Harry was sure that it would—Apollonia needed to be around.
Since Lee, Angelina, Alicia, Katie, and Oliver—the Gryffindor Quidditch group, as Harry termed them—had not yet left, choosing to make an attempt at having George interact with them, Harry approached the group. Katie was the first to notice that he was there. “Harry!” she called. “Come on over. Maybe you can help us reach George; he might listen to you.”
“I sincerely doubt that,” Harry said under his breath. No one actually understood what was going on. Even he didn’t quite understand what was going on; George only seemed to give him part of the story. He reached the Gryffindor Quidditch group and looked around at his old teammates; with the exception of Lee – who acted as commentator – Harry played with each of them over the course of five years: three with Oliver and four with everyone else. It brought back fond memories in seeing everyone here. All that was missing was Fred. “Hello, everyone; nice to see you again. Now, how can I help?”
“We’re trying to get George to talk to us,” Katie volunteered.
“I can see that,” Harry pointed out.
“Harry, you’ve been around him for the past few days,” Lee said. “Do you have any idea as to why George won’t even talk to us, his closest friends from our Hogwarts years?”
This question was to be expected; Harry knew perfectly well that the question was coming. For Lee, Angelina, and Alicia, they were not only housemates, but also in the same year as Fred and George were in. For Oliver and Katie, they were on the Quidditch team with the twins and grew close to them as a result; it was only natural that they would question what was going on here. However, Harry was not quite sure if he should say anything. “It’s kind of a complicated issue, guys,” Harry said, glancing over at George as he was blankly staring at the Hogwarts grounds. “Fred’s death hit him harder than all the rest.”
“Well, that’s to be expected,” Oliver said.
“It’s not that simple,” Harry insisted. “None of the Weasleys have even been able to approach George about what happened. And, the thing is that neither can I. Even if I do understand the pain that comes with a loss such of this, George hasn’t let me in to help him through what happened.” Harry did not say who was capable of helping George; Apollonia would have to help him on her own time, not by the standards that everyone else had.
“So, you can’t help us?” they asked.
“I might have a way to help,” Harry admitted. “However, the only way that it’s going to work is if said plan is put into play tomorrow at Fred’s funeral.” No matter what Ron thought, Apollonia needed to be at Fred’s funeral; she could be the only one that was able to help George get out of the funk he had been in during the past few days. It has to work.
The group nodded in ascent and quietly said their goodbyes, leaving only Hermione, Harry, and George at Snape’s grave. Only a few minutes passed before the trio was met with the return of Harry’s twin sister. “What are you three still doing here?” she asked.
“We wanted to know how you were doing,” Hermione answered. “It was your father that died and we know what he meant to you. We may not have appreciated the man for what he did —” she glared pointedly at Harry, a look that the savior of the Wizarding World knew he deserved for treating Snape as he had, “— but that doesn’t mean that we don’t care.”
“That explains you and Harry. Not George,” she reminded them.
“He’s trying to avoid everyone,” Harry whispered conspiratorially, making sure that George did not hear what he had to say; for the moment, it was best if the conversation remained between the two siblings: the ones who knew why George was acting like this, even though Apollonia currently had no idea that Harry was aware of that fact. Anyway, there was no use in sugarcoating the issue when it came to Apollonia. It was likely that she would find out anyway. According to what George told him, Apollonia was going to figure it out when she came to help, whenever she was permitted to do so.
She nodded in understanding “How has George been these last few days?” Apollonia asked her brother. “I haven’t been around to check on him. Can you tell me anything?”
“Quiet. Very quiet,” Harry replied.
“In what way?” she asked.
Well, might as well tell her what I know, Harry thought. With Ron banning her from the Burrow, Apollonia knew nothing of what was happening. It was up to Harry to inform her of such. Harry looked at his sister sadly; this was not something he really wanted to do. “He hasn’t spoken to anyone during the past few days,” Harry informed her. “Well, that’s not exactly true. There are instances when he will speak, but that’s only to stop Ron from insulting you. In fact, the only time that George has ever said a word to anyone other than you is when the conversation is about you. Molly and Arthur are kind of worried; George is never this quiet. It’s unnatural for him to be this quiet, almost like Fred’s death caused something in him to disappear. He simply sits in his room, with the door locked. I’m pretty sure that this is the first time in which George has stepped foot outside of the Burrow.”
“I need to find a way to get over there,” she muttered.
“Yeah, that would definitely be for the best,” Harry whispered, a knowing smile on his face. He knew all too well that Apollonia could help George. The issue they were faced with was how to get Apollonia near the distraught Weasley son and help him. “You’re the only one that might ever be able to help George break out of this funk. Within the past five days, George has only spoken to us when we’re talking about you. That’s got to mean something.”
“Do you know?” she asked.
“About Fred? Yeah.”
“How?” she asked.
“George told me,” he answered, realizing that it might be for the best if Apollonia was informed of Harry’s knowledge of what was going on. It would make things that much easier in dealing with the war’s aftermath; there would be no need for the sneaking around. “The day that The Quibbler special edition was released, Ron attempted to convince Molly that it was as unreliable as the Daily Prophet was. I was going to say something, but George spoke up before I could; he’s been helping myself and Hermione by stopping Ron from bashing you every chance he gets. After that first instance, I spoke with him, learned the reason that he was so pissed off about how Ron was acting in regards to you. Apollonia, why didn’t you say anything about that deal you made with the twins?”
The Slytherin shrugged. “I didn’t exactly want to remember what I did. Just before everyone met you out by the Room of Requirement—I was at that meeting, by the way—Fred pulled me aside and produced a lily right before my very eyes. At that point the Fidelius was still around Mum’s name, so this was the only possible way for him to explain what he knew. After I realized that Fred was aware of the fact that I’m your sister, he asked me to watch over George if anything happened to him. That’s the part that I’m guessing that George told you. The part that you probably don’t know is that Fred’s death bound me to the promise I made; with his death, Fred made it so that I was unable to break my promise. And, I really don’t want to know what’ll happen if I break my promise. That’s why I need to be able to freely go to the Burrow; so I can help George.”
Upon hearing that, it occurred to Harry that he had not yet informed his twin about when the Malfoy trials were to take place. That was important, as she was a key character witness in defense of the Malfoys. She knew things that no other person was aware of, information that might be crucial in deciding their fates for after the war, whether any of them were to go to Azkaban for their actions. Besides, it also serves as a way for Apollonia to convince Ron that she’s not lying about being my sister. It was the latter, he supposed, which led to Harry forgetting what he was supposed to tell her. “May 11th; nine AM,” he said.
“What is that supposed to mean?” she asked.
“The Malfoy trials,” he explained to his sister. “That might turn out to be the one chance you have at explaining everything. I don’t know it’s going to work, but we’ll have to try that.”
“Can you be sure that it would work?” she queried.
“About ninety-five percent,” he answered.
“I hope you’re right, Harry,” she said. “For George’s sake.”
Got that right, Harry reflected. George’s attitude towards life changed dramatically over the last few days, due in part to the fact that Ron took every chance he got to insult Apollonia, to which George would always jump to her defense; for reasons that only he and Apollonia knew about. Harry was rather appreciative of that, knowing that he was not the only one willing to defend his Slytherin sister. But, doing that was not conducive to George’s recovery, for his grief was palpable, and Ron was not making things any better.
The Burrow was somber when Harry awoke the next morning. No one seemed willing to do anything, as this was the day in which the family would be forced to say goodbye to a beloved family member. Harry, for one, was always grateful to the twins. It was Fred and George who handed him the Marauder’s Map. In fact, if it wasn’t for that map, there would have been times in which Harry might have been killed. He owed it to George to help him through what happened. And that meant that Apollonia coming to the funeral was of the utmost importance.
In the hours prior to Fred’s funeral, no one was able to bring George out of his room. No matter how hard everyone tried, there was no pulling him out of his domain. Even worse, Bill, Fleur, and Apollonia had yet to arrive; it was agreed that they would come at the last minute, so that Ron wouldn’t start complaining about her presence. It would dishonor Fred’s memory if Ron were to start arguing at his older brother’s funeral. For the whole of his life, Ron was prejudiced against Slytherins, against those who were predisposed to becoming Death Eaters. Apollonia was not one of them, given that Snape did everything he could to protect his daughter; to keep Apollonia away from such a terrible life.
About five minutes before the funeral began was when three POPs of apparition could be heard. While Hermione kept Ron busy, Harry went out to meet Bill, Fleur, and his sister. He needed to talk with his sister about what was happening. “Bill, Fleur, good to see you again. Molly and Arthur are waiting for you.” He then turned to his sister. “Apollonia, we need to have a chat. There’s a slight problem that only you will be able to fix.”
“George?” she asked.
“George,” Harry affirmed.
“Damn it!” she yelled. They both apparated up to just outside George’s room—thus circumventing a confrontation with Ron, which was going to come no matter what happened—and finished their conversation there. “Do you have any idea as to how much of a challenge it is for me to get over here? There was a weak ward placed around the property, one that was meant to keep me away. Bill had to break it in order for me to apparate in.”
Harry looked between his sister and where Ron was standing just below them, talking to Charlie. Ron had basically condemned his older brother to a life of grief when he placed that ward. Didn’t he realize that George was suffering as a result of what was done? Just because he hated Apollonia didn’t mean that Ron was allowed to barricade the house against her, and force George to suffer. Did he care at all that George was in pain? “Three more days,” he muttered to himself. It would be just three more days until Apollonia was given the chance to prove herself, to make Ron see the error of his ways. Harry pointed to George’s door. “You might want to go in there. The funeral is starting in a few minutes.”
While his sister went inside to help George, Harry headed outside to meet up with his old teammates. They were owed an explanation regarding George, and now seemed the best time for him to do it. Besides, Apollonia might want to do this on her own, seeing as she was the one who could reach him. This cannot continue as it has, Harry muttered. It just can’t.
When she arrived at the Burrow for Fred’s funeral—after Bill lifted the wards that kept her away—Apollonia was not expecting that she had to get George out of his bedroom. Is it really this bad? Apollonia wondered when she stepped foot into the room. Am I really the only one that can help George? It was the fact that Fred knew her secret before he died that led to George’s complete faith in her. And, it also might have helped that Harry was her twin brother, something that gave Apollonia insight into how George was feeling, insight that no other person might ever have. “Hey, George, you might want to come out of your room,” Apollonia said.
“Why should I?” George scowled. “It’s still going to hurt.”
“Because,” Apollonia reminded him. “You’re not the only one who’s hurting as a result of what happened during the final battle. I’ll admit that you were affected the most, but not the only one affected by it. There’s the rest of your family and your friends; what of them? I get how you feel, George; I was near inconsolable during the time that I thought Harry was dead. And, yes; I got my brother back, but there was no guarantee that I would. I came within inches of being in the same situation that you’re in.” George needed to remember that he was not the only one to suffer through Fred’s death; there were others. While it was true that George was the most affected by the loss—it was his twin brother—it did not give him the right to act like this. “Come on, George; I’m sure that you can find the courage within yourself to go out there and attend your brother’s funeral. Besides, you’ll be surrounded by people who care about you, people who want to see you be happy.”
“It’s not going to be the same,” George said quietly.
“Nothing is,” Apollonia agreed. “People we cared about died. That’s what happens during war. Look at what happened to me; I lost my father, and very nearly lost my own twin. But, I’m still able to function. I have less people that care about me than you do. Whereas you have a large family—parents, four brothers, and a sister—and friends to help you through Fred’s death, I only have a few people that I can rely on; for the longest time, the only people that ever cared about me were the Malfoys and my father. I lost my father, and it’s hard to say if I’m going to lose Draco and Narcissa as well. Even if I’ve got other people to rely on—Harry, Hermione, Luna, Neville, and select members of your family—none of you really understand just how much the war affected me. Now, you don’t see me crumbling over the loss of the people closest to me, do you?”
“No, I suppose not,” George said.
“Precisely,” she said. “Now, why don’t you come down to the funeral and get a chance to say goodbye to your twin? I’m sure that Fred would hate it if his own twin missed his funeral.” Before allowing George to answer, Apollonia grabbed hold of George and apparated out to the edge of the Weasley property where Fred was to be buried. She was not about to listen to George say no; he needed to be at this funeral, no matter how much he may not have wanted to. It was his twin and paying his respects to his brother was for the best; it might even help George grieve over his loss. This is definitely for the best.
“Hey!” George shouted.
“Yeah, like I was really going to give you the chance to say no,” she scoffed. “Fred told me to watch over you, which means that I’m not about to let you sulk in your room. I’m bound to my word; Fred made sure that I couldn’t break my promise. So, you’re staying here at my side for the entire funeral. After that, you need to have a chat with your friends.”
“Excellent idea!” a voice exclaimed.
It did not take long for Harry to find Oliver, Lee, Angelina, Alicia, and Katie. They were hanging around the back of the Burrow, plotting on how to approach George. “Why don’t we just kidnap him and force him to sit down and listen?” Oliver suggested. Harry snickered. Considering that Harry just left his sister and George upstairs, and the fact that George had not yet come out of his room, he knew that there was no way that their plan would work.
“He’ll slip away,” Angelina argued. “The twins were good at that.”
“That’s the fourth plan that you’ve shot down,” Lee complained.
“Yeah, do you even want to talk to him?” Katie asked.
“Of course I do!” Angelina exclaimed. “Ever since Fred d…d…d…passed on, I’ve wanted to try to talk to George. I’m the one that rounded everyone up in the hopes that one of might be able to get through to him. But, no one can get near him. It’s near impossible to get through to George after what happened. How are we supposed to do this?”
Harry grinned. It was probably a good thing that Apollonia was upstairs trying to talk some sense into George then. Apollonia was the one person even remotely capable of getting through to George. Fred gave her a way in, a way for her to approach George after the loss he suffered through. Harry walked over and called out to the group. “You could have waited to talk to me instead of starting to plot in how to approach George,” Harry suggested.
“We weren’t sure if you would be able to do anything,” Lee said, waving Harry over. “We needed to have our own plan in place in case yours happened to fail. A back-up plan.”
“There’s no need,” Harry assured them.
“Your plan is working?” Alicia asked.
“It’s currently in progress,” Harry hedged.
“What this plan then?” Oliver asked.
Harry knew the question was coming, and he really wasn’t sure if he wanted to explain any of this to the group. After all, it was his sister that was able to approach George, rather than some of his closest friends; the people he hung out with during his Hogwarts years. So, Harry couldn’t help but wonder if any of them—Lee, Angelina, and Alicia, especially—would take offense to the fact that George would allow Apollonia in rather than one of them. It very well could have been an insult to them; that it was Harry’s twin sister who was capable of doing what no one else could. Unfortunately, he had no way of knowing if that was going to happen. “Apollonia Lily Evans Snape,” Harry said.
“Your sister?” Lee asked.
Harry nodded. “Yeah.”
“What about her?” Alicia asked.
“She’s the only one that can talk some sense into him,” Harry answered. “It makes absolutely no sense, but she has been able to do what his family, Hermione, and I can’t.”
“Why your sister?” they asked.
“It’s best if you ask her,” Harry suggested. Harry did not wish to be the one who explained the magic Fred used to do this. Hell, he didn’t even understand it himself, how Fred was capable of binding Apollonia to the promise she made. It was not something that was ever covered in Hogwarts. In fact, it was something that would have been quite useful to know, maybe as a way of ensuring that Dumbledore’s Army remained secure during that fifth year. There would have been no need to worry about Marietta Edgecombe’s betrayal if he had known about any of this. “She knows more about it than I do.”
The group headed over to where Fred’s funeral was to take place and soon spotted Apollonia talking to George. “…for the entire funeral. After that, you need to have a chat with your friends.”
“Excellent idea!” Harry exclaimed.
Apollonia spun around to see the group coming towards her. She smiled at the sight of them. “Your timing is impeccable, Harry. There’s no way that I could have planned it any better.” She turned to the rest of the group. “Nice to see you guys again. George, as I’m sure you can tell, has not been acting like himself. You might want to keep that in mind.”
“How were you able to get George out here?” Angelina asked.
“Right to the point, I see,” Apollonia mused. “Well, that’s a complicated story right there. Far more complicated than we have time for. I’ll explain after the funeral. Right now, I need to keep watch over George, make sure that he doesn’t sneak away from the funeral.”
“We’ll help,” Oliver supplied.
“Yeah, wouldn’t want him avoiding us,” Alicia said.
As the group bunched up around George, thus blocking any escape, Harry nudged his sister. “This might be a good way to keep Ron from finding out that you’re here. At the moment, Ron is clueless as to the fact that Bill brought down the wards he placed to keep you out. There’s bound to be a confrontation with him if Ron happens upon you,” he warned her.
“Good to know,” she whispered.
Shortly after the Gryffindor Quidditch team of Harry’s first three years—and Lee—arranged themselves around Apollonia and George so that no one could see that they were there, the others attending the funeral made their way over. Harry kept a close eye on Ron, whom he noticed started looking for him before settling down between Hermione and Ginny. The way that everyone arranged themselves was simple; George in the middle with Angelina and Apollonia on either side of him. Harry sat on her other side, with Oliver and Alicia just behind them; Lee and Katie were sitting in front of the group, so that anyone who walked by would be unable to tell that it was George and Apollonia. It appeared as if this was the best way to hide what was going on at the funeral; that Apollonia was even attending, and to keep George from sneaking away from his twin’s funeral.
After several speeches—including one from Kingsley—Fred was buried at the edge of the property and everyone got ready to go inside. Well, not everyone. George, Apollonia, Harry, Angelina, Katie, Lee, Oliver, and Alicia remained at the burial site. Only one thing was on their minds; how Apollonia was capable of pulling George out of his shell. As Harry soon noticed, they were growing frustrated with George’s refusal to interact with any of them. They wanted answers, which only Apollonia could provide them with. “Why?” asked Katie. “Why are you the only one that can get through to George?”
Apollonia laughed. “You guys just won’t quit with that, will you? Okay, I’ll tell you.” And so, Harry found himself listening to a story that he watched play out in Snape’s memories. “Thirty years ago, there was a lonely young boy who wished to escape his abusive father. The boy’s father hated magic more than anything and attempted to beat the magic out of him, hoping to make the boy normal. It never happened, however, and the boy used any excuse to get away from the house. One day, he went out to a nearby park and saw a young girl using magic. This girl was a Muggleborn and knew nothing of magic, so the young boy took it upon himself to help the girl.
“Over the next few years, the two became the best of friends, thanks to the bond of their magic. The young boy was even able to tolerate his father’s beatings, so long as his friend was around to help him through it. When they went off to Hogwarts, a strain was put on their friendship; she was sorted into Gryffindor, and he into Slytherin. Despite this, the two remained friends. They would meet whenever they could, especially during Potions, a class they both excelled at; he more so than her. A group of boys from the girl’s house, however, despised the fact that she was friends with a Slytherin and often targeted him for such a friendship. By third year, two of these five boys had developed crushes on the girl; the young boy who forged the friendship with her at age eight and his rival, a housemate of hers that she hated.
“It was this rivalry that led to the breakdown of a seven year friendship between the two during the end of their fifth year. A spell of the young man’s own design was used against him by his rival. When the girl stepped in to defend him, however, the boy made the biggest mistake of his life and called his oldest friend the unforgivable; he called her a Mudblood. That was the end of their friendship and the two went their separate ways after that, even though the young man attempted to apologize. With an unaccepted apology, the young man found comfort in the dark arts, hanging out with some unsavory students while the young girl looked to her friends for the comfort she needed.
“Around the beginning of their seventh year, the girl turned to comfort in the person she hated for the majority of her Hogwarts career. They were Head Boy and Head Girl of their year, so it was only natural that they become close. It was around Valentine’s Day of that year in which a proposal was announced; the two would be married at the end of the year. Upon learning that the love of his life was marrying another—worse, the bane of his existence while at Hogwarts—the young man turned to the darkness for comfort; he began to serve Voldemort. He disappeared from his former best friend’s life and immersed himself in a world where the darkness reigned supreme, where she would never be accepted.
“It was around Halloween of 1979, a few days before in fact, that the two former friends met again. The boy never stopped loving her and told her so that very night. Despite the marriage to his rival, his love for her overrode his common sense and they made one intense night of passion before he drifted out of her life again, regretting what was done. On Halloween night of that year, the young man went to the Hogshead Pub in the hopes of drowning his sorrows—of causing his best friend to commit infidelity on her husband, his rival—with some firewhiskey. While he was there, he overheard a prophecy being recited; a prophecy which he only heard the first half of before he was thrown out for eavesdropping. He immediately reported what he heard to his master and headed home for the evening.
“Several weeks went by before the young man caught sight of the love of his life again while in Diagon Alley. It was there in which the young man discovered that she was pregnant, though unsure of paternity because of what happened. An appointment was made with a healer and it was soon discovered that both men were fathers; a son by her husband, a daughter by the young man. Given the fact that two siblings were to be born, a truce was called between the two rivals, so that the two children could grow up together in a loving environment, and not have to hear their respective fathers yelling at each other all the time.
“In the meantime, Voldemort was busy trying to make sense of the prophecy that was overheard; he wished to know who the identity of the child prophesized to kill him. Voldemort was not about to let that happen and planned on killing the child, whoever it was. It was early April when news finally reached Voldemort of two couples that fit the prophecy; one of which was the woman and her husband. When the young man heard this news, he begged Voldemort to spare his best friend’s life, not only for himself, but for the sake of his unborn daughter; he did not want the girl to go through life without her mother. Despite the assurance that she would be spared, the young man went to Dumbledore for helping, agreeing to become a spy for him in exchange for his best friend’s life.
“On July 31st, 1980, the two siblings were born, the boy first, followed shortly after by his sister. The girl was immediately swept off to her father and boy to his own parents. This was the last they saw of each other, as Dumbledore prepared to send the couple and their young son into hiding, as soon as a safe place could be found to house the young family from Voldemort. A safe place could not be found until a year later, and the couple had the Fidelius Charm performed on the house they would be staying at. Several months later, an unknown switch was made to the secret-keepers, one that ultimately cost the couple their life, and left their orphan son with a lightning bolt scar on his head.
“As you’ve probably guessed, this story is about me and Harry, or more specifically; James and Lily Potter, and Severus Snape. This is the real story behind everything that happened. While Harry was sent to live with our aunt, uncle, and cousin—as abusive as my grandfather was to my father—I spent eleven years of my life never meeting my brother. I only met him on our eleventh birthday while I was leaving Ollivander’s and he was going in, and even then, I had no clue that he was my brother. It was not until September of my sixth year that I learned of Harry’s existence, at least as my brother, for Dad never wanted me to know. That’s why I’m telling you this story, to help you understand.”
“Understand what?” Oliver questioned.
“Why George trusts me,” she replied.
While Harry understood the story—both what was just said and what was about to be explained—no one else did. So, it was only natural that Alicia asked what she did. “What does any of this have to do with how much George seems to trust you?” the ex-Gryffindor Chaser asked.
“I’m getting to that,” Apollonia assured the group. “Now, as I was saying, I never knew that Harry was my brother, not until our sixth year when Dad insisted that I take Occulemency lessons. I viewed the one memory there was of me and Harry together; me getting handed off to my father. In that moment, I knew; I knew that my father kept my brother’s existence from me. And, in the next few months, I discovered that Dumbledore, McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, and Pomfrey were aware of my identity as well. I soon added a few of my own though, people that I was sure I could trust with my secret; Hermione, because she was close to Harry; Tonks, because I knew her a long time ago; Dobby…”
Harry stared at his sister, not believing what he was hearing. “Dobby knew!” he shouted. “Why was I never informed of any of this? Dobby was practically devoted to me.”
“I know, Harry,” she said quietly. “But, you and Draco weren’t the only students to have a first-hand account of what Dobby is like. I knew him too, from when I spent my first summer at Malfoy Manor. And, yes, I was upset that Dobby was killed protecting you at Malfoy Manor. Anyway, Draco found out at the beginning of seventh year, and protected me as a result, never telling me that he knew that I was your sister, Harry, until just after Dad was killed. Slughorn was also told, as I would need the support, and he became an ally in all of this. Aside from them, only one other person knew who I was; that person was Fred.”
“Fred?” the group asked.
Apollonia nodded. “Fred,” she affirmed. “During the winter holiday, I issued a challenge to Fred and George. They were curious as to what secret I was hiding and I wondered if either one of them was capable of learning my secret, despite the fact that I had a specially modified Fidelius Charm protecting my mother’s identity. If either one of them was able to figure out that I was Harry’s sister, before I revealed my identity to Harry himself, I would grant a reasonable request to anyone that figure it out. Fred was able to do it. He approached me in the hours before the final battle began and conjured a lily in front of, thus ensuring that I became aware of what he knew. His request was for me to watch out for George if anything happened to him. When Fred died, he bound me to my promise; I have no choice but to watch over George, to help him through what happened.”
“You were bound to your promise?” Alicia asked.
“Yes, why?” she asked.
“If Fred’s death bound you to the promise you made, then you have no choice but to follow through with the request. Otherwise, you’ll lose your magic. It’s close to a Wizard’s Oath or an Unbreakable Vow, only that it takes a great deal more magic for a binding to occur. Fred’s death would have been enough to seal the request, even more so if you were within eyesight for his death. Were you? Were you around to see Fred as he died?”
Apollonia shrugged. “Sort of. I passed him as it occurred.”
“And, it allowed Fred’s magic to bind you to the promise,” Alicia noted. “His final act on Earth was to make sure that his twin was watched over. That’s why you need to do this.”
“Well, it was obvious that George would take it hard,” Apollonia said. “They were twins, each other’s best friends for the first eleven years of their lives. Look at me and Harry; I only knew that Harry was my brother for about eighteen months and I nearly crumbled at the sight of my brother’s dead body. If something like that could happen in that short a time, imagine how George must be feeling. Now, I get that you guys want to be able to talk to him about Fred, but now might not be the best time for it. You might want to wait a few weeks.”
“How long is a few weeks?” Angelina asked.
“Can’t say. But, I will let you know,” Apollonia replied. As everyone else headed inside, Apollonia pulled her brother aside. “What the hell was that about, Harry? Why did you force me to explain that to them?”
“They were getting ready to force George to talk with them!” Harry exclaimed. “It was only going to hurt him even more. So, I did the only thing that I could; I warned them about what happened, why you’ve been the only one that can help George avoid the depression that he’s obviously headed for. What else was I supposed to do, lie to them?” George’s somber attitude towards life after losing his twin brother was noticeable to everyone around. There was nothing that Harry would have been able to do to explain it properly.
“I was hoping to avoid it,” Apollonia admitted.
“Well, it’s going to be revealed at some point,” Harry reminded her, remembering the Malfoy trials that were to take place in three days. After Apollonia admitted under the influence of Veritaserum that she was Harry’s half-sister and twin, she would no longer be banned from the Burrow. It would allow her to come over whenever she was needed, to help George work through his grief.
“I’d rather wait on that,” she replied. “Especially given my association with the Malfoys. I’m still considered persona non grata because of that; there are bound to be people in the world—other than Ron—who still believe me to be a dark witch. Dad didn’t completely get rid of the stereotype; he only lessened the degree to which it’s believed with the revelation that he was helping Dumbledore. Why do you think I’ve concealed my status as the Lady Prince? I know that there are only a few people that trust me implicitly, and that’s you, Hermione, George, Bill, and Fleur. Charlie is still rather annoyed with me about that detention, so I left him out; otherwise, he would know as well. I don’t trust people easily, and I have even more reason to keep my trust for them so limited.”
“Why are you like that?” Harry asked.
His sister shrugged. “Harry, you must remember; I was invisible for years. No one ever cared to notice that I was in Slytherin, that I even existed at all. It was just easier for me to go through Hogwarts like that; I’d never get involved in such petty things as house rivalries, nor would I have to deal with anything like you did. No, I was simply able to focus on my studies, at least until sixth year when Narcissa insisted that I watch out for Draco. It was that request that changed my life; that allowed me to find you. Even so, I still can’t see myself trusting many other people. Most of the Slytherins never noticed that I was around; I think the only ones that might have—and were nice to me—were Draco and Zabini. Everyone else didn’t give a shit about me; they never really will,” she warned.
“I think the Greengrass sisters didn’t seem to mind,” Harry pointed out. He was paying attention during the funeral yesterday and had a basic idea of who might be willing to accept Apollonia for who she was. It was a fraction—a rather small one—of the population, which meant one of two things; it had to do with her father’s spying days, or Apollonia herself. “You do have some students that care about you, Apollonia. For everyone that cares about George, they’re appreciative of what you’re trying to do to help George.”
“I guess,” she shrugged.
“Well, I want you to remember that, Apollonia,” Harry told his sister, hoping that this would sink in. “People do care about you, even though it might not seem like it at the moment.”
“Oh, you mean like the Dursleys?” she asked.
Harry scowled. “Don’t bring them up.”
“Well, they care. Or, at least Dudley does.”
“Yeah, like I’d believe that!” he scoffed.
“No, really!” Apollonia exclaimed, brightening up. “I thought the same thing when I went to spend Christmas with the Dursleys. But, it turns out that I was wrong on that count. In fact, that reminds me; I need to go take down the Fidelius from the safe house—Privet Drive as well—at some point. You might want to come with me when I do that, Harry.”
Harry openly laughed at his sister’s outlandish suggestion. “Go speak with people who hate me! I don’t think so.” Since the day he first set foot in Number Four Privet Drive, Harry James Potter was not welcome there. And he knew that he never would. There was a reason that he said goodbye to the Dursleys when they went into hiding; he had no intention of contacting them ever again. So, what was Apollonia thinking when she suggested that Harry come with?
“You said it yourself,” Apollonia said.
“What?” Harry asked.
“Family,” she reminded him. “You said it in regards to George, yes; but the same principle still applies. And, I think you might want to talk to Dudley. At least talk to him, Harry. Maybe you’ll understand why I trust Dudley. I might be the only family you have that actually cares about you, but I’m not the only family you have. There still is Dudley and Petunia.”
“Who never cared about me!” Harry exclaimed.
“You don’t want to even see them, do you?” she asked.
“Not even,” Harry muttered.
“I was afraid of that,” Apollonia said.
“You can go do that if you want,” Harry said. “Just don’t drag me into it.” With everything that the Dursley put him through over the years, there was no way that Harry planned on going anywhere near them; not after all the abuse that Harry suffered through by their hands. If Apollonia wanted to go there, she could. But, dragging Harry into it was never going to happen.