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As the girl he loved disappeared for the evening, Draco slunk back to their common room, trying to figure out how she could have known what was going on; Apollonia was never supposed to discover that Potter and his friends were at Malfoy Manor. Her having any knowledge of what transpired that night would only bring her trouble. The Dark Lord was not pleased to discover that Draco did not do what was required of him. In the young Malfoy’s eyes, allowing Apollonia to become a Death Eater was tantamount to allowing his mother to be killed. Yet, neither his father nor the Dark Lord seemed to understand any of that, his willingness to protect Apollonia from such a dark life. No, it seemed as if the Dark Lord would do absolutely anything for more followers; Draco learned that lesson the hard way.

After the encounter with Potter, Draco, his parents, and Aunt Bella were forced to pick up the pieces of the broken chandelier whilst under the effects of the Dark Lord’s strongest crucio. He was none too pleased that Potter and his friends were allowed to escape, all thanks to a former Malfoy elf. Not one of Father’s finest moments. As for Father, he and Aunt Bella were busy grumbling about how they could have allowed Potter, Granger, and Weasley to escape. Draco chose not to partake in such grumbling; it seemed rather pointless. Besides, Draco was busy thinking of his best friend, how he was doing, which allowed him to ignore the transgression that he was being punished so severely for.

The fact that Potter was in his house caused Draco to think of Apollonia even more than he normally would have. In fact, he was hoping to avoid the whole thing. Three months ago, the Dark Lord ordered Draco to persuade his best friend into becoming a Death Eater. He couldn’t though; Apollonia was far too important to him to agree to simply hand her over to the darkness as his master wanted. But, how was Draco ever supposed to explain that to his master? The Dark Lord seemed to lack empathy, as if power was the only thing he understood. Explaining to the Dark Lord that he did not want the girl he loved to become involved in this was far too complicated. And there was a slim chance that it would even work. His only hope was that the Dark Lord would forget the order.

The day passed amid all those involved in the Potter incident from a few hours ago cleaning up Malfoy Manor – what Aunt Bellatrix complained to the Dark Lord about being house elf’s work. Both Mother and Father did the same; only Draco chose not to complain. He was hoping that the Dark Lord would not care to notice him. Such plans failed. Draco was just collecting the broken crystal into a pile when a young Death Eater hurried in. “The Dark Lord…the Dark Lord…wishes to speak with the young Malfoy,” he stammered.

It was the qualifier
young that caused Draco to realize it was him. He stopped what he was doing and solemnly trudged after the young man, wondering this had anything to do with today’s events. He certainly hoped so. His escort was left at the threshold of the door as Draco entered the study where his master was waiting. “What do you wish of me, my Lord?”

“Draco, Draco, Draco, what am I to do with you?”

“What do you mean, my Lord?” Draco asked, though he already knew. This was about Apollonia and his unwillingness to recruit her. She was the light, so very like her name.

“Draco, you have yet to bring Ms. Snape before me,” Dark Lord noted. “I cannot help but wonder why that is, why you would defy an order simply to keep her away from this. It is her destiny, Draco. Why would you ever deny your friend the opportunity for such power, from her destiny? She could be so much like her father, yet you refuse to bring her before me to take the mark, to pledge herself to this cause just as her father—and you—did before her.”

If not for the fact that Draco already decided not to allow Apollonia to come anywhere near his master, he might have agreed with the Dark Lord. But, such as it was, Draco was not about to let Apollonia get tangled into this mess. As Potter’s sister, she was caught in the middle of the two sides; a fact that only he seemed to be aware of. “I have previous orders, my Lord. Your orders conflict with that order.” He was careful not to say who gave that order, or why, so that Severus would not get into trouble. It was his daughter, his order that kept Apollonia from becoming the Death Eater that the Dark Lord wanted her to be.

“So, you would choose to defy me over such a lowly order?” he asked evenly. Draco nodded. “What I going to do with you, Draco? Protecting your friend will only put you in trouble.”

“But, I don’t want her to be a part of this,” Draco objected.

“That may be true; however, you have no choice.
Crucio!”

It came as no surprise that the Dark Lord would crucio him about not recruiting his best friend. But, he would never understand just how much she meant to him, why he was so willing to protect her. No one, except maybe her father and Blaise, understood just how much Apollonia meant to him. It was because of that in which Draco was crucioed to within an inch of his life. And he was given one last chance to recruit Apollonia to the cause, which he knew he wasn’t going to take. Apollonia belonged to the light; she always did. Even her name held connotations to the light; Apollo, amongst other things, was the sun god. For Apollonia to become a Death Eater was to go against everything that she represented. There was no way that it was allowed to happen; not now and not ever.

Throughout much of their sixth year, Draco distanced himself from the girl he loved, hoping to protect her from this fate. Maybe he should start doing the same now. Distance, even a little bit, might be the only thing that could protect her, keep her safe from the danger that threatened to ruin her life. At the beginning of the school year, Severus asked Draco to stick close to Apollonia—it was the reason that the two of them were staying somewhere separate from the entire school—and watch out for her over the course of their seventh year; now he was not so sure that following that order was in Apollonia’s best interest, not when the Dark Lord wished for Draco to recruit her to the cause.

As the year was drawing to a close, things were growing far more dangerous that he or Severus could ever predict. Because of that danger, it seemed as if Draco had to give up on the one thing he cared about most in the world. The only thing that Draco could do to watch over her – now that the Dark Lord was pressuring him about this – was use the snake pendant to watch out for her. Speaking the pendant, he should probably use it at the moment. Maybe he could figure out what was going on, what she was hiding from him. He pulled out the pendant and focused on the emerald eyes, seeing an image of his best friend appear before him.

It appeared as if Apollonia was standing in an office, though Draco was sure that it was not Slughorn’s. And standing in front of her was someone that Draco had no wish to see: Neville Longbottom. What the hell is this about? Why is she hanging out with Longbottom? Whatever this was, it was probably not something that he wanted to hear. Her hanging out with Longbottom was just as bad as the times when she was hanging out with Potter, before Draco knew what his nemesis was to Apollonia. That he could understand. But, he couldn’t help but wonder why she was talking to Longbottom, what all of this was about. The only way to know that, he supposed, was to spy on her; to understand the reason for this.

…we have to fix this,” Apollonia was saying. “I don’t know what’s going on, what Dumbledore’s grave has anything to do with what that maniac is trying to do, but something must be done to help Harry. I got some advice from Luna about how we can help, and we need to take it. It’s the only way to make sure that the Carrows are eliminated from the school.

Draco momentarily pulled his focus away from the pendant. So, she was trying to get rid of the Carrows. Well, he couldn’t blame her; they were trying to weaken her and force the young Snape into becoming a Death Eater. Apollonia had every reason to want the Carrow siblings out of the castle. Maybe that’s a part of it, Draco wondered. She’s working with the students that want the Carrows gone. Well, as long as they aren’t hurting Apollonia.

For as long as Draco had known Apollonia, she remained neutral about everything that was going on; never put any stock in what Draco preached, nor did she try to change his mind. He had always gotten used to that fact; that Apollonia seemed to accept who he was and never tried to interfere. Now she was; she was doing everything in her power to help Potter. It bothered him, but not for the reasons that he expected. It wasn’t exactly that he was bothered by her working with Potter, but rather that she picked a side which he could lose her on. The second the Dark Lord discovered that Apollonia sided with Potter, and that Draco knew about it, she would be killed almost instantaneously. The Dark Lord would not stand for allowing someone to be around who could destroy him. And that was exactly what Apollonia could do. If Potter was ever to fail, it would be Apollonia to take the reins from him and finish what her brother started, which the Dark Lord would never allow.

How was he ever supposed to help her with that? How was he ever supposed to protect her from the danger she was putting herself in by trying to help Potter? Unfortunately, Draco could think of nothing that might help her with this. As much as he wanted to protect Apollonia from the danger she was putting herself in, there wasn’t exactly a way for him to do so without the Dark Lord’s knowledge. No matter what, there would always be a way for any contact to be traced. He just wished that there wasn’t; that he could help her.

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