Blood Ties and Betrayal

BY : burynr08
Category: HP Canon Characters paired with Original Characters > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 1360
Disclaimer: I do not own JK Rowling's world of Harry Potter or make a profit from this story.

Snape, who had not been afforded the whole night's rest that Cassie had intended for him, was now very much awake. He had roused out of his blissful slumber with a start around five in the morning, not really knowing why, and had immediately taken to the castle's corridors to continue his neurotic guarding of the Stone. There, he had swiftly run into an uncharacteristically purposeful looking Dumbledore, who had beckoned him to his office to discuss the matter of what Cassie had seen in the Mirror of Erised.

Snape, naturally, wasn't thrilled with the events of the night, especially because he had only been hearing about them after the fact.

"What were you thinking, Dumbledore?" he lashed out immediately. "You can't tell me that you felt the girl was going to see something good in the blasted mirror, or you wouldn't have brought her there in the first place!"

"I was merely inquisitive, Severus, and as she was out on a stroll in the middle of the night anyway, I thought it might be a curious experiment," Dumbledore said casually, and the Headmaster's placid demeanor only enraged him further.

"You speak to me like I'm a buffoon, Dumbledore!" he growled, pacing yet again in front of the grand desk that his silver-haired companion sat at.

"I am well aware that you are not," the older wizard said, "and I think it wise that you calm yourself, as to keep this discussion as advantageous as possible."

"I am calm!" Snape shouted. "How could I not be, knowing that you ambushed my student in the middle of the night, taking her to a mirror that showed her over throwing the moronic government with her heinous, murdering parents that have fueled her nightmares since she was a child!"

"Severus," Dumbledore continued on calmly, but something changed in the delivery of his speech ever so slightly, his tone growing a bit more stern as he spoke to the distraught Head of Slytherin House. It was a fragile, but practiced dynamic that the two wizards shared, when Snape lost control of his emotions. It wasn't often that it happened, that Snape lost it in front of the Headmaster, but when he did, Dumbledore was an expert at the intricate steps he needed to take in order to maintain the younger man's confidence. "I did not predict, nor could I have, what Cassiopeia saw in that mirror. But I find it highly beneficial that we now have that information, that we know what is going on in her mind."

"Why?" Snape barked, and his black eyes were filled with fury as he turned towards the Headmaster, his lips curled in a menacing snarl. "Because now you have finally confirmed what you've always suspected, that she's dangerous? That she's always been destined to do the Dark Lord's bidding whether she realizes it or not?"

"I will not speak that truth into existence," Dumbledore countered, his delivery more firm, but still composed and even. "Now you are putting words into my mouth. But you know as well as I do, Severus, that Sybill made a rather ominous prediction about her, one that we cannot simply ignore because we have seen her grow into a rather likeable young woman."

"So what do you suggest we do, Dumbledore?" Snape said, his features wild, his hands itching to grab a hold of some of Dumbledore's personal possessions and start whipping them against the wall again. "Shall we put her down, like a rabid dog?"

"You misunderstand me completely," Dumbledore replied, and now his words were quiet, meek. "Severus, my intent was not to confirm my own suspicions that she is not to be trusted, or that she is plotting anything - "

"WHAT, THEN?" Snape shouted, and then he took a few seconds, trying to calm himself as the Headmaster had requested of him earlier in the conversation. He came to stand in front of the desk, halting his incessant pacing, and leaned forward, meeting his superior's gaze. "What was your intent, Dumbledore? Because I am at a loss, obviously!"

"Sybill's revelations about the girl aside," Dumbledore explained, "I wanted to see if whoever was trying to enter her mind and go through her memories had somehow influenced her. While it is possible that subconsciously she longs for the fall of the Ministry, I think her mental intruder may be to blame for what she saw."

Snape was silent for a few moments, Dumbledore's words stewing in his mind, and his features started to calm finally. Then he said, "And what if that's not the case? What if that's actually what she desires?"

"Then maybe being an Auror and working for the Ministry isn't the best choice for her," the Headmaster replied quietly. "But as her most recent interactions with our dear Minister have shown, that decision might be made for her."

"Training to be an Auror is everything she's dreamed of, for such a long time," Snape said, shaking his head, looking rather disgusted. "If the Ministry denies that to her, for no reason other than her parentage, it will only fuel any animosity she has towards them. They might be inciting their own demise, if their downfall is what that prophecy was referring to!"

"So with either direction, we fear the same outcome," Dumbledore said, "which is why I encourage viewing Sybill's predictions through a lens of skepticism, so as not to lose all logic."

The two wizards were quiet for a few minutes, both lost in thought. For the first time in the young Slytherin witch's life, both men were thinking of the prophecy regarding her future, and considering actually informing her of its existence. Snape was the first to say it out loud: "Should we tell her?"

It was a cold night, but thankfully the sky was clear and full of stars as Cassie made her way across the grounds and towards the Forbidden Forest. They gave her enough light to guide her across the snowy ground without needing to pull out her wand and light a path, possibly alerting Hogwarts staff to her journey. And she was not in the mood to try to explain why she was heading towards the out of bounds forest when the moon was high and the dangers were likely to at their most vicious.

As she initially ran away from the classroom that contained the Mirror of Erised and Headmaster Dumbledore, she wasn't quite sure where she was headed, but even as she entered in the hallway, her mind was made up: she wanted answers to questions she had been barely conscious of having until now. But that experience had brought them screaming, fighting to the surface. So here she was, entering the trees at the same familiar spot she entered them so many times, but usually in the day light to find her favorite clearing with the jagged boulder. Those times, the forest looked so inviting, a place of solace for her. Tonight, even as she entered with a mindset of determination, it looked like the darkness and branches might swallow her up as soon as she entered.

Moving through the Dark Forest was difficult, as the ground was covered with rotting stumps and knotted roots. She found that in the night it was easy to trip over what was unseen in the dark and what was hidden under the snow. She followed the familiar path that she had taken so many times during the day, and once she knew she was in her favorite cherished spot, she took a few minutes to gather her thoughts and make a plan. She hadn't taken the extra time to go back to her dorm to get a few extra layers of warm clothing, so she needed to conjure some magical form of warmth. She did that quickly, using her wand to make a small blue flame that she cupped in her hands. The bright light would alert her presence to the residents of the forest, but that was part of her plan, anyway. She was just hoping she would find the friendlier ones before the more sinister ones came across her, first.

Cassie started to move away from the clearing that she knew and deeper into the trees, and apprehension made her turn and look back, made her wonder if this really was such a good idea. But then the fresh memory of Lord Voldemort gazing at her from the grand mirror flashed in her mind, his expression conceited and looking like he had won, something, somehow; what, she couldn't know, but she was determined to not let it happen.

What she sought after in the forest in those early hours was not something, but rather someone. She was looking for the local herd of centaurs, and more specifically, Firenze. In the past, when she had come across centaurs, it had not been intentional, and usually their interactions had not been amiable. But if she remained polite and had assured them that she would be on her way out of the forest, they would usually go about their business, and she with hers. That was, until, she ran into the younger, blond centaur, and he had instantly been more interested in her presence in his habitat.

It had been in her fifth year, and she had been in her usual spot with Charlie. The two had been there after a particularly grueling Quidditch match, and Charlie had just wanted to get away from everyone's constant stares and criticisms of how he had played. They had been on the rock together, talking about everything and nothing, kissing and cuddling, when they had heard the sound of hoof beats nearby. A group of four centaurs had come into view, looking rather restless once they spotted the teenage Hogwarts students. Cassie, who had interacted with them a few times before, greeted them immediately, told them that she and Charlie would be on their way back to the castle, and then Firenze, who had been staring at her without blinking, spoke.

"Heir of the Dark Lord," he said, giving her a slight nod, and Cassie felt stunned, as someone referring to her as Lord Voldemort's successor was not something she took kindly to. Even Charlie, who was usually slow to anger, started to flush at the brass way that the centaur had referred to his girlfriend.

"I'm no heir," Cassie replied swiftly, getting down from the large boulder. She usually bowed slightly to the centaurs, but forgot herself this time in her agitation.

"Potentially," Firenze said, a knowing look on his pale features, and the others with him started to grow anxious, stamping hooves and rearing up slightly.

"Firenze!" Bane boomed, "We do not speak of the future in front of humans, you know this!"

"But this young one's future is not set in the stars," Firenze replied, and his blue eyes broke their gaze from Cassie, moving skyward. "It is imperative that she knows that decisions will be thrust into her path, ones that will impact the carnage that she brings - "

"Enough," Ronan interjected sadly, cutting off his younger companion, although not nearly as impudently as Bane did.

By then, Cassie had heard plenty, and her Gryffindor beau had known it without her having to say anything; he had already grabbed her hand, muttered some civilized goodbyes to the centaurs and had started to pull her away from the clearing and towards the castle as quickly as he could through the trees. Those haunting words had been something that she had replayed in her head, over and over for the next year or so before she had gradually told herself that there was no way they were true, that divination and anything related was unreliable and frivolous. It was the only thing, along with Charlie's reassurance that there was no way she was going to bring carnage upon anyone, that kept her from losing her mind.

But now, as she pushed on through the chilled night air, trying to find prints, straining to hear any noise that would alert her to their close proximity, she was not nearly as sure. The image of a fallen Ministry of Magic sure seemed like it would go hand in hand with bloodshed and despair. And while Dumbledore had told her that the mirror did not necessarily show the future, she didn't think it a coincidence that Firenze's words and what she had seen had been so similar.

It seemed like she was walking for endless hours, and yet the sun was still not starting to rise, so she knew it was still very early morning. She couldn't really know how far into the forest she had journeyed, and was just starting to wonder if she was going to end up being lost in there for days, shivering and despondent, when she heard hooves. Muffled from traveling on frozen ground, but nearby. Cassie's heart began to soar, and yet beat wildly, because she knew she was trespassing into their territory.

"Offspring of the Terrible One," she heard the deep voice of Bane, and then she was surrounded by six centaurs. She kept the flame near her, for she desperately needed it to stay warm just then, but didn't dare take out her wand and appear like she was any sort of threat to them. She immediately went into a deep bow. "You are unexpected in our forest, especially at this time, and alone."

"She is lost," Ronan added, in his same melodramatic tone as always.

"I am lost," Cassie said, "But was also searching for you. You can't begin to imagine how pleased I am to have found you - "

"You found us!" Bane said. "The very concept is absurd. Had we not come across you, you would have been walking in circles for a week and perished in this harsh cold."

"You're right," Cassie said, keeping her eyes cast to the ground, hoping they would find her demeanor sincere. "You're absolutely right."

"What reason would a student from the castle have for seeking us out?" Ronan asked then, and Cassie breathed a small sigh of relief, glad they were off the topic of Bane's pride.

"I know I have nothing to offer you in return," she started, hoping her choice of words wouldn't offend any of them. "But I was wishing to speak with Firenze, if he is agreeable."

Bane, Ronan, and the rest of the centaurs began to banter softly among each other, and then she started to grow quite nervous. Her instinct was to go for her wand, but she knew it would be an incredibly stupid move, so she kept her hand at her side, taking deep breaths, trying to stay calm. If they attacked, she would just have to try to get to it as quickly as her frozen fingers would allow.

Bane was taking some steps towards her. She still kept her eyes on the ground, fixing them on a tree stump. "For what purpose, young human?" Cassie inhaled deeply, hoping she would find the right words, and as she was about to speak, Bane suddenly commanded, "Look at me, human!" Cassie obeyed, raising her head, letting her eyes meet his stern ones, and then she choked as his large hand shot out, grabbing her by the throat. He lifted her from the ground by her neck as if she weighed as much as a feather, just enough so that their eyes were level. Still, her shoes were dangling several feet from the forest floor, and her hands instinctively went to grasp the one that was around her neck.

"You seek out the prognostication made by Firenze from those years ago, the one you ran from," he said, his dark eyes narrowing as Cassie choked and sputtered, trying to draw breath. Still, she willed herself not to reach for her wand, knowing he could likely crush her windpipe before she managed to successfully land a proper curse. She could neither speak, nor nod, and was left hanging in the centaur's maddened grip. "We owe no humans the knowledge of our predictions!"

"We might not owe the humans," came another voice, and a white-blond, palomino centaur came into view; Firenze had finally made an appearance. Cassie would have been thrilled had it not been for the lack of oxygen threatening to make her slip into oblivion shortly. "But we owe it to our species to allow this one to choose the most righteous path." He came up beside Bane, and then placed a hand gently on the arm that was holding Cassie. "Bane, that's enough. She's no good to either side if you kill her now."

Bane suddenly loosened his grip, and Cassie fell to the ground in a heap, taking her first uninhibited breath in a rattling wheeze. "Perhaps we'd all be better off knowing she can't choose either path, for humans have poor insight into what is righteous and what is not," he grumbled. But Firenze must have convinced him not to kill her, because he started to slowly turn and walk away from her, the other centaurs following suit, disappearing from view into the darkness.

"Please forgive Bane's brutality," Firenze said quietly, offering Cassie a hand. She took it tentatively, massaging her bruised neck as he helped her get to her feet.

"He's just being careful," she said. "I can hardly blame him."

"You are patient, for a human," he said.

"Depends on the day."

"So what changed, young witch?" Firenze asked, as Cassie folded her arms around her torso, trying to keep warm as they stood among the dense oaks. The centaur's light features almost seemed angelic among the snow covered branches around them. "Why seek out the foretold now, after this much time?"

"I learned something...distressing, about myself. Are you familiar with the Mirror of Erised?"

"I am not."

"You look into it, and it shows you your deepest desires," she said. The centaur had started to slowly walk, and she followed, assuming he was going in the direction of the castle grounds, at least she hoped. "I saw the Ministry of Magic fallen, and the Dark Lord returned, along with my mother. I was with them."

"I don't understand," Firenze said, ducking under a low branch without having to look at it, knowing the forest so well. "If it is your deepest desire, then what is so upsetting?"

"It's not my deepest desire," Cassie said, "or my desire at all! At least, I don't think so! Him returning, and being with them, it's sickening to even think about. But after seeing that in the mirror, and remembering what you said to me that day...I can't help but wonder..."

"If you're destined for that future?" Firenze asked, and Cassie nodded slowly. "You are worried that you won't be able to change it."


"But I told you, young one. Your future is not set," Firenze said gently.

"But you said, that I will bring carnage," Cassie pointed out.

"And you will," Firenze replied evenly, and Cassie's heart dropped. "In what I've seen and read in the stars, you will lead a great legion in the upcoming war. But it is not determined for what side."

"So you know there will be a war," Cassie said lowly. "My father, he'll return?"

"Oh, yes," Firenze said. "Bane and the others would not like me telling a human, of course."

Cassie felt like she was going to vomit right then. "So he'll come back, and then what? He'll convince me to go to him?"

"I do not know anything of the sort," Firenze replied. "That is where your decisions come in." Cassie nearly tripped on a root, and he caught her, steadying her before she fell into the snow. "Your power, young human, lies in your choices."

"But what if I choose not to help either side?" she asked quietly. "What if I don't want to lead an army or massacre people?"

Firenze suddenly stopped walking, as they had reached a clearing, and looked up into the night sky again. There were still no clouds in sight, and the stars were shining brightly. Cassie hoped that because they were so dazzling right then, he'd be able to pluck a clear answer out of them for her easily, tell her something comforting.

"I have not accounted for that choice," he muttered after a few minutes. Cassie was so cold, she was sure her toes had to be blue by now. "But I am sure no power lies within it."

Firenze helped her to find her familiar clearing and then bid her farewell. Cassie was more than grateful for the centaur's cooperativeness, although she didn't feel any more at peace with what he had told her than when she had entered the forest. She told him many times before parting ways that if there was ever anything she could help him with, to tell Hagrid, and she would be in the forest to help in any way that she could. She couldn't tell if he would ever take her up on that offer or not.

She was so tired once she reached the edge of the forest, she hadn't really thought about whether or not anyone would see her coming across the grounds, so when Hagrid suddenly burst from his hut as soon as she came out of the trees, she was a little startled.

"Cass!" he bellowed, lumbering towards her with a large, cozy looking blanket that he must have pulled from his hut. "What are ya doin', coming out of the forest, 'specially this time of mornin'?"

"Oh, Hagrid," she said, so grateful for the warmth and softness as he wrapped her in it and scooped her up, carrying her straight to his home. "I'm so happy to see you!"

"I'd get you back to the castle straight o' way, 'cept it looks like you need a bit o' warmin' up," Hagrid muttered, and he burst through his door, placing her in a chair in front of his fire place. "Yer lips are blue!"

"Yeah," Cassie said, realizing now that her entire body was shivering. "And probably my toes."

"What were ya doin'?"

"Visiting the centaurs," she said truthfully, finding no reason to lie to the half-giant, especially since the creatures would probably fill him in of their encounter the next time they saw him. Hagrid was flabbergasted, and she gave him a few vague answers, feeling so tired that she started to doze off in front of the fire. He must have let her have a bit of a nap, because when she woke up next, it was completely light out. He carried her part way across the grounds, then made her walk, probably wanting to give her a chance to wake up some before she got into the castle and potentially had to field questions from other students.

After thanking Hagrid profusely, Cassie parted ways with him in the entry hall, and then she started to make her way towards the dungeons. It looked like breakfast was long over and classes had already started, as most of the corridors were already deserted. She had intended to go back to her dorms for a change of clothing, but her plans were immediately interrupted by a rather panicked looking Potions Master.

"Cassie!" he hissed quietly as he nearly jogged up to her, even though there was no one else around. "Where in the hell were you?"

"Don't you have class?" she countered calmly. He looked like he was about to answer, and rather angrily, when his eyes landed on the fresh bruises that were around her pale neck. Without speaking, he placed a hand between her shoulder blades and guided her towards one of the empty classrooms. Because Professor Sprout was substituting second-year Potions while Snape was out looking for Cassie, they went into a room that had previously been used solely when Filch was in charge of detentions.

"I hadn't realized you were gone," he growled after settling her into a rickety wooden chair and closing the door, "Until McGonagall noticed that you hadn't showed up to class. Then I talked to your dorm mates, and they said you hadn't been to bed all night!"

"Yeah," Cassie replied, settling into the chair; all she wanted to do right then was sleep.

"So?" Snape said irritably. "And I repeat: Where were you?"

"The Forbidden Forest," Cassie said, and Snape looked like his black eyes were going to pop out of his head.

"Doing what?"

She sighed, the anger on his features growing tenfold, and then she recounted the story. He had started out by standing while she was talking, but was sitting across from her by the time she spoke of the first time Firenze mentioned his predictions; by the time she told Snape of what she had learned only hours ago, he looked like he had seen a ghost.

"Well?" Cassie said, knowing her next words were going to just piss off the Potions Master. "Can I go to bed now?"

"Cassie," he growled lowly, "Stop acting like this is all a game!"

"I'm not," she said, rolling her eyes. "Severus, I'm just exhausted, alright? I traipsed through the cold, dark forest all night - "

"Like a damn idiot!"

"Thanks for that," Cassie said, grimacing slightly, "And trying to take this all in...I just need to process it all."

"Do you realize," Snape said, his voice quiet and dangerous, letting Cassie know that he was nearly at his boiling point, that he was about to erupt at any second, "what those centaurs could have done to you? How stupid it was to just run in there, alone? Without telling anyone?"

"It was stupid, I admit," Cassie said lightly, "But I'm fine - "

"Look at your damn neck!" he snarled, looking absolutely livid. "You're lucky we're not out there looking for your cold, dead body!"

"Severus!" Cassie countered, feeling much more awake the more annoyed she got, "Me going into the forest is completely beside the point!"

"Oh, really? Then what, besides the fact that you're a reckless, harebrained risk-taker, is the point? I have enough to worry about around here, and then you go off doing something this dangerous!"

"Oh my god!" Cassie exclaimed, getting up from her chair suddenly, feeling exasperated with the older wizard and his temper tantrums. "I realize that you're stressed out, Severus, but this is not about you! At all! This is about the fact that I'm supposed to, I don't know, lead a fucking army that kills a whole shit load of people? Does that not warrant a little bit of your time?!" She started to pace, and Snape remained seated, suddenly falling silent at her rant. He looked calm as he watched her, and his change in disposition irked her for some reason, making her grow even more agitated. "And the best thing is, Severus, is that I don't even know who I'm going to be killing! Isn't that great? Maybe, I'm going to turn to the other side when the time comes, and I'll be murdering all of my classmates and their loved ones, won't that be something?"

"Cassie," Snape said, his rich voice reverberating in the abandoned dungeon, but it barely registered to her. "Why would you ever think that would be what happens?"

"Don't do that," she said, glaring at him. "Don't pretend like you didn't talk to Dumbledore, like you don't know what I saw in the fucking mirror!"

"Cassie, just because you saw something in the Mirror of Erised, doesn't mean any of it will come true, it doesn't show the future - "

"No, but it showed me something that I want, that I didn't realize that I did!" she shrieked, and then Snape was on his feet, grabbing her face in his hands, trying to lock his eyes onto hers so he could ground her.

"Cassie!" he said firmly, and after a few seconds, her blue eyes found his, and he knew she was listening to him for at least a moment. "Dumbledore and I think that your night time intruder may have planted that image into your head. It might not be your desire at all!"

Tears were pouring down her face, blurring her vision as she tried to focus on the man in front of her, the man that she loved so much that was trying to keep her from completely losing herself. "But what if it is," she whispered, sobbing now. "What if, when my father comes back, I go to him?"

"You won't!"

"But it would be so much easier," she hissed, her face darkening as she said it. "Everyone already expects it out of me, and so many people already hate me! Why not just do what they believe I will?"

"Cassie," Snape said, and he sounded so sorrowful as he said her name again, going to plant soft kisses on her tear-stained face as he continued to hold her face in his hands. "You've never been someone that just does something because it's easy."

"But what if I do?" Cassie asked weakly. "What if I do, and then I lead an army that slaughters innocent people?"

"I won't let that happen," Snape said reassuringly. He was sure then, that someone had intended to get into her head, and had done it rather successfully. The girl was a shaking, weeping mess, and when he was sure that Sprout had likely dismissed the students in his Potions classroom, he led her through it, into his office, and then finally into his quarters. He settled her into his bed, making sure she was comfortable and asleep, before going to teach the rest of his classes for the day.

He didn't tell her, but his intention for that day had been to reveal to her the prophecy that Sybill Trelawney had made about her years ago. He knew that Dumbledore might be displeased about his decision not to go through with it, but as the young Slytherin had already discovered the basis of the prediction for herself through the centaurs, he figured it didn't pay to upset her more to hear it through another source. But he assumed it would only be a matter of time before she would find out that he and Dumbledore knew and didn't tell her, and that it would rattle the trust between the two of them.


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