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Since it was lunch, Severus decided to approach Amycus about his little demonstration on Apollonia. It was only the second class of the year when Amycus chose to attack the Head Girl with the Cruciatus Curse. “Amycus,” Severus said gruffly, “my daughter! How could you inflict the Cruciatus Curse on my daughter after I warned against such a thing?” Apollonia was the one true reminder Severus had of Lily; Potter was also one, but not to the same degree as Apollonia. Sixteen years had passed since Severus lost Lily to the war and he was not about to do the same with his daughter. The Carrows could not be allowed to do this.

“It is my classroom, Severus,” Amycus cackled. “What I say goes. And, if I say that your daughter is to be a part of this, you have no choice but to comply. The Dark Lord wishes for your daughter to join and she will be targeted until she agrees to his request.”

“My daughter is to stay out of this,” Severus insisted. “I may be a Death Eater, but I am also a parent. And, unless I give the okay, my daughter is not become a part of this.” The irate Headmaster stormed away and came across the Head Boy on his way back to the Hospital Wing. “Mr. Malfoy, I thought you would be staying at my daughter’s side.”

“I wanted to ask you something,” the blond boy said.

“And, what might that be?’ he wondered.

“We need privacy, sir, before I can tell you,” Draco insisted.

The Headmaster led the Head Boy up to his office and locked the door. “Now, Mr. Malfoy, what is it you wish to tell me?” The young Malfoy seemed out of breath as he slumped down into a nearby chair; it was as if the past few hours were taking its toll on him.

“Sir, about a month ago, I made an attempt to delve inside your daughter’s head, only to find that her Occulemency shield were too strong for me to get by. Well, I tried again today; Amycus’s attack caused her shields to lower and I was able to gain entrance into the deepest chasms of her mind without her knowledge. If I could do so with my weak Legilimency skills, a master like the Dark Lord could do the same amid relative ease,” the young Malfoy intoned.

Recalling what memories his daughter locked behind that barrier, Severus eyed the Head Boy with mild interest. If his daughter was the only one who could speak of her mother’s identity, how was it that the Head Boy discovered such a closely-guarded secret? “You learned who she really is, did you not?” Draco nodded. “Then, you now understand why protecting my daughter is paramount. Her connection to Potter puts her life in danger. And, you will be the one make sure that that my daughter is protected. You may hate Potter, but you love my daughter. That fact alone should convince you to continue protecting her.” Severus knew that the young Malfoy would freak out upon learning whom Apollonia was related to; he despised Potter about as much as Severus hated James. “I doubt you want to see anything happen to her. Even if she is related to your worst enemy, you still love her. And love is not something to be taken lightly; I lost the woman I loved because of a foolish mistake, you would do well to learn from my mistake.”

“But, why did it have to be Potter?” Draco objected.

“Sometimes, it is just the way things turn out,” Severus stated. He recalled the day he lost his best friend thanks to his temper. If Draco cared about Apollonia as much as Severus suspected he did—and as much as he claimed he did—the young Death Eater would do well to hold onto her. Otherwise, he might regret it. “Do not turn her away simply because of whom her relatives are. Sometimes, love only comes once before you can never find it again. Do not lose your chance for love or it might never come again. Now, Mr. Malfoy, you better get going; it would not be wise for you to be here much longer.”

Before Draco left however, one final question was asked. It was a question that Severus should have seen coming. “Should I inform Apolla that I know who she is?” he asked.

“No, keep this to yourself,” Severus insisted. “If the Carrows were not currently in the school, I would say yes. However, the less people who know who Apollonia’s mother is, the better. And, if I heard correctly, my daughter is the only person allowed to say her mother’s name. Vague references to it can fly, but that’s it. Even if that is possible, it’s best for you to not mention it all. Only one thing will ever trigger the truth to come out; my daughter will only reveal the truth when there is no need for her to be protected. That’s the only time that you can tell her what you know. Until then, Mr. Malfoy, only I will be aware that you know who my daughter’s mother is.” It was best to hide Draco’s knowledge of the truth; not even Apollonia was allowed to know what occurred.

The Head Body left and Severus went back to what he was doing. Now, in addition to protecting school from the Carrows, secretly helping Potter, and raising his daughter, Severus had to keep an eye on Draco since he now knew the truth about Apollonia’s parentage. And, the worst part was that this was only the first day of the school year. If things continued as they had been over the next nine months, Severus was in for a long year.

 

***

 

Despite the fact that he only had ten minutes before an afternoon of Charms with the diminutive Flitwick, Draco returned to the Hospital Wing; there was something he needed to do. As he was speaking with the Headmaster—otherwise known as Apollonia’s father—Draco’s fingers touched the cold metal in his pocket and the Head Boy remembered the necklace he forced Apollonia to wear since Christmas. So long as the protection spell remained active, she would be safe. Unfortunately, the protection spell was currently inactive.

While on the train ride home, Draco deactivated the protection spell, figuring the Apollonia would be safe. Not once in the past month had Draco thought to reactivate the spell. It wasn’t until it was too late that the Head Boy remembered anything about the protection spell. He would have to activate the spell to ensure that the Carrows couldn’t do this again. Draco refused to let anything happen to Apollonia, even if she was Potter’s sister.

“Mr. Malfoy, shouldn’t you be heading off to class?” Madam Pomfrey asked as the matronly woman bustled into the room. “The next round of classes begins shortly and I need to be ready for if the Carrows happen to send another student to me. Including Ms. Snape, there have been four students receiving treatment for what the Carrows did to them.”

“I needed to do something,” Draco replied.

“Well, hurry it up,” the nurse muttered.

Draco shrugged and went back to Apollonia’s side. Upon pulling the serpent pendant from his pocket, Draco tapped it against the pendant Apollonia had round her neck and muttered the spell to activate the protection. “What was I thinking by not activating the spell last night?” Though, he supposed that the assumption that Apollonia would be invisible might have had something to do with his decision. He honestly expected that things would return to normal, that there would never be a need for the protection spell to activate. That assumption turned out to be dead wrong; the Carrows would make certain that Apollonia and every other student who opposed Voldemort’s reign had a terrible school year, one that would eventually force them to comply with the way things were now run.

The Head Boy left the Hospital Wing and headed to the Charms corridor for Flitwick’s class. He wondered how much longer Apollonia would be unconscious. As he was only half paying attention to what Amycus was doing to the younger Snape, Draco didn’t exactly know what the extent of the damage might be. She was already unconscious for far longer than any other student. There was no telling as to how much longer it might last. He arrived at the Charms classroom and took a seat, slamming his bag into the next chair. Draco hoped that Snape cautioned the Carrows about what they were doing; he had an entire school year in which to deal with this. And, if they continued targeting the younger Snape, Draco’s seventh year would not turn out all that well.

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