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Several hours later did Apollonia wander into her common room, heading straight for her bedroom. The Head Girl wasn’t sure how, but she was able to get Luna, Ginny, and Neville to trust her. By helping them plan the start of the Resistance, it proved to them that the Slytherin was willing to defy her father—defy her house—in order to help Harry and the Order win the war. Had she not offered to do that, or help Madam Pomfrey heal other patients—boy was she pleased by the fact that Draco would give her this snake pendant, though it seemed like quite the nuisance at first—there was no way that she would be trusted. Now, all she had to do was hide this from Draco and her father; the only way that any of this would work was if no one loyal to Voldemort found out about this. And, that was how things would remain, even if it meant keeping things from her father. Perhaps she could think of it as just another secret to lock behind the lightning storm.

Flopping down on her bed, Apollonia remained there for some time, eventually drifting off asleep. She woke up and spied the clock; it was nearly eleven, past breakfast. “I really must have been tired,” she mumbled. It was no wonder really; she spent much of yesterday dealing with her encounter with Alecto Carrow and preparing for the day in which Hogwarts would be rid of her and her brother. Doing so must have tired the Slytherin out more than she expected, especially considering the fact that it didn’t appear to be much.

“And, what am I to do about breakfast?” she wondered. On her father’s orders, she was confined to the common room during the weekends. Considering that even she was unsure as to where she might find the Carrows on the weekends, Apollonia planned on following that order. Could I get one of the house elves, maybe Dobby to help me? Might as well find out. “Dobby!”

The house elf she recalled from her first stay at Malfoy Manor appeared, a wide grin appearing on his face when he realized who called him. “What can Dobby do for the Great Harry Potter’s sister?” he asked.

“I need a favor, Dobby,” she explained. Dobby nodded enthusiastically. “I need you to take me straight to the kitchen. My life is in danger—much like Harry’s was during second year; yes, I know that was you; after all, how else would you have been freed from the Malfoy’s service—and I must avoid the people intent on harming me. Can you help me with that?”

“Oh, yes!” Dobby replied gleefully, taking her hand in his and apparating them through the castle using his elf magic. “Dobby is happy to help Harry Potter’s sister. Miss Apollonia was nice to Dobby while he worked for the Malfoys. And Miss Apollonia is also Harry Potter’s sister. Dobby would do whatever he could to help Harry Potter and his family.”

“Thank you, Dobby,” she said, upon arriving at the kitchen.

“Miss Apollonia is welcome,” the elf said happily.

Upon eating, Apollonia slipped down to the dungeon, careful to avoid the other Slytherins. She was not in the mood to deal with them, especially Pansy. After the incident in Muggle Studies—if it could still be called that—Apollonia was pretty sure that she would be met with a smug Parkinson; Alecto took Parkinson’s side, despite the fact that Apollonia was the Headmaster’s daughter and, under no circumstances, should have been targeted at all! Dealing with Parkinson would not be a pleasant experience. No, Apollonia had come down here to talk with Slughorn, maybe get to know her mother through him.

Slughorn was not someone that the Head Girl enjoyed speaking with; he replaced her father as Potions Master and the young Slytherin was not too thrilled with that fact. Ignoring him seemed the best option at the time. But, now; it was needed. Though Slughorn would not be able to say her mother’s name, vague references could be made to it; that was all the Fidelius allowed for. Upon knocking on Slughorn’s office, Apollonia quietly wondered how she would approach the elderly man with this information. She came to the decision that Slughorn would have to be briefed on this information; he was the only Head of House to not know. And, if her father trusted the man to give him access to the Head common room, then it would stand to reason that Apollonia should tell him about who she really was.

Horace Slughorn pulled the door open. “Ah, Ms. Snape; do come in.” She nodded and entered the room. It was much different from what her father had. Whereas her father preferred to surround himself with potions, Slughorn—his predecessor and successor—liked to be reminded of his most prized students; he seemed rather proud of teaching them.

The Slytherin caught a glimpse of a picture featuring a younger version of her father. She picked it up and ran her fingers over her father and the young woman at his side—a woman with red hair and dazzling emerald green eyes. “Mum,” she whispered quietly.

Slughorn saw what picture she had. “Ah, yes. The Slug Club of the mid-seventies. Yes, your father was a part of that group. He truly did have quite a talent for Potions. It was no surprise that he would be my successor. His loyalty to the darkness surprised me though; I always thought that his childhood love would ground him, keep him from turning to that path. Seems I was wrong.” Slughorn shook his head. “Such a shame. He had so much talent.”

“You’re wrong, sir,” Apollonia injected.

“Wrong?” Slughorn queried. “Surely, you must be mistaken, Ms. Snape. You, in fact, were around when your father killed Albus. There’s proof that it was your father to commit the deed. Additionally, there is no way dispute these facts. I heard that Mr. Potter saw it happen.”

“No, no; that’s not what I mean,” Apollonia corrected. “I know what Dad did; it’s just that I know of the childhood love you speak of. And, I also know that you can not speak her name.”

“How do you know that?” he asked.

“Because, sir,” Apollonia explained. “I had the spell placed. Only I can ever speak her name; it’s been that was since the beginning of the year, about the last eight months.”

“Why would you do so?” the man queried.

“She’s my mother, Professor,” she informed him, finally telling the last of the House Head her secret. “Lily Potter—one of your most prized students, the reason you introduced Harry into the Slug Club—is my mother. I’m the last reminder my father has of his best friend, of the woman he loved. Do you see, sir, why I made sure that no one could speak her name? To protect my identity, I forbade anyone from saying her name, especially since my middle name is that of my mother’s; my full name is Apollonia Lily Evans Snape.”

“I should have realized last year,” Slughorn mused. “You used your mother’s maiden name as your identity until the end of last year. I did not know that she had a second child.”

“No one did actually,” Apollonia admitted. “My existence was kept secret, done to keep me protected as the maniac searched for my brother. Until September of last year, even I was unaware of my brother’s existence. Dad thought it was best if I didn’t know what was going on; he wanted to protect me. Not exactly one of his best ideas, as you can see. Despite my father’s intentions, I’m still dealing with the repercussions of what he’s done, both times. And, because of what my father has done, I spent much of my life being invisible.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Slughorn wondered.

“Because it needs to be told, at least to the teachers I trust. I had every intention of waiting until Harry knew, but I can’t do that. Professor, you knew both my parents. And, I have reason to believe you also knew a boy named Tom Riddle.” The man was old enough; why wouldn’t he know Riddle? The thought occurred to her as she was speaking with Slughorn. If he came out of retirement as Dumbledore mentioned last year, there had to have been a reason for it.

“Like brother, like sister,” Slughorn murmured.

That caught Apollonia’s attention. “Professor, did Harry ask this same question of you?” If her brother asked this same question, maybe she was on the right track. Maybe she could figure this out.

“He did indeed. You two are too inquisitive for your own good. So was your mother in fact. Always wanted to know as much as she could. It must be where the both of you got it,” Slughorn mused. “Yes, I knew Riddle. I was the teacher he was closest to, the only teacher he trusted. There’s a part of me that wonders if I could have stopped the boy from becoming what he did.”

“You feel guilty for something?” Apollonia asked incredulously. She had no intention of coming down here to ask Slughorn about any of this. Her intention was to find out what her mother was like during school, since doubted that her father would say anything. But, all of a sudden, Apollonia found herself interested in the story Slughorn had to tell. What could he possibly be guilty for? What did he do? “Professor, what could you possibly have done to make feel so guilty for what Riddle became? How does it fit into all of this?”

“It has EVERYTHING to do with it!” Slughorn roared.

“Do tell,” Apollonia insisted.

And so, Slughorn proceeded to inform Apollonia of the story she would soon realize that her brother heard only four months ago. “Tom Riddle manipulated me into telling him about a dark sort of magic, stroking my ego by saying that I understood him better than Merrythought. It was a mistake telling him. Look at what he became; he’s a monster because of my mistake.”

“What dark magic?” Apollonia wondered.

“Horcruxes,” Slughorn said.

“Horcruxes,” the Slytherin repeated. She recalled her brother mentioning that word and she wondered what it was about. If Slughorn knew, maybe there was something to this. “Sir, what are horcruxes?” Slughorn eyed her warily. “I promise you, Professor. I have no intention of pulling a Riddle.”

“Extremely dark magic. To create one, a murder must be committed so that a portion of the caster’s soul will be ripped away from their body and contained in an object,” Slughorn explained. “That is what I told Riddle all those years ago. That is my secret failure.”

Now Apollonia knew. Now the Slytherin understood what her brother was doing. And the answer terrified her. It was no wonder that Voldemort was a monster; he was practically soulless. Hell, it was no wonder that Slughorn blamed himself; he didn’t want to remember all that he did, instead preferring to recall the success stories. “I see why you’re not fond of that memory. But, if you told Harry, surely you must realize that you made up for that mistake by giving my brother the power to destroy him. Even if you did tell Riddle of the horcruxes, you did the right thing in the end; you told Harry how to destroy him.”

“I suppose,” Slughorn mused.

When Apollonia emerged from Slughorn’s office, the Head Girl had a firm understanding of what her brother was doing. Overheard conversations allowed for Apollonia to become aware of the fact that her brother and his friends were searching for the horcruxes. That was the reason that Harry, Ron, and Hermione weren’t in school this year; it was their duties to deal with this, to ensure that there was no way that Voldemort could return after Harry destroyed him. “Why didn’t you ever say, Harry?” she wondered as she returned to the common room. “Why the hell would you keep something like that to yourself?”

For reasons that were not yet known to her, Harry decided that it was best for him to drop out of school, as if Voldemort’s destruction was far more important than his schooling. At the moment, Apollonia really couldn’t blame him; the Carrows were destroying everything that was good about this school and it was only the end of the first week. How the hell could she and everyone else in the school last the year; it was nigh impossible. Harry’s off gallivanting the countryside, looking for the horcruxes—at least now I know what they are, why Harry and the others skipped school to go out and look for them—while I’m here school dealing with the possibility of Hogwarts’ destruction. How can I even begin to ensure that Hogwarts is protected from the maniac’s influence? I’m not Harry; I’m not even Neville. That was something the Slytherin was immensely unsure; how was she supposed to do this?

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