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.

The next morning, Cassie woke feeling rather peaceful and content, not recalling any barbaric nightmares involving her parents or murdered loved ones. After holding each other in front of the fireplace for a while, Snape had insisted that they move to the bed and Cassie perform her nightly ritual of clearing her mind before allowing herself to go to sleep. At first, she had resisted, just wanting to be able to drift off lazily in her lover's arms, but now that she had experienced a restful night, she was grateful for his persistence.

Having been once again reminded of why the dark and brooding wizard was such a good match for her, Cassie smiled as she stretched a bit and then slowly rolled over to touch him, but found that he was no longer in bed with her. She sighed, thinking that he had probably gone out to patrol again, and then got out of bed, intending to make some tea. She was still completely nude, and feeling quite chilled being in the dungeon bedroom, she went to the wardrobe to fetch one of Snape's grey nightshirts, pulling it over her head. Wearing his clothing while in the privacy of his quarters had become commonplace for them now, but every time Cassie did it, it reminded her of the first night they had slept together. It made her feel amorous and giddy, such a simple thing like feeling the fabric of his pajamas on her skin, something she'd likely continue to keep to herself. Nonetheless, she had a small smile on her lips as she walked into the Potions Master's kitchen because of it. Her smile grew enormously when she found that he was seated at his dining room table, rather than being out somewhere in the castle and away from her.

He was shirtless, wearing only a pair of dark green lounge pants, and Cassie took a few seconds to admire him as he sat there, scribbling away at something with so much intensity that she wasn't even sure if he realized she had entered the room. The darkness of the surrounding room amplifying his pale features and jet-black hair, Cassie made a mental note to get him more sets of those pajama pants, because she rather liked the way he looked in only them.

"Good morning," she said softly as she approached him, and he grunted to her in greeting, obviously absorbed in what he was doing. She could hardly be cross with him for his boorish response, because when he was this zealous about something, trying to distract him from it would only annoy him, and then he would go back to doing it. Instead of berating him, or make demands for his attention, she slowly went up behind him and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, and bent down to give him a warm kiss on his cheek.

She saw that he had Şəfalı Iksirlərin Hamısı open on the table, and was copying text from it over to some parchment. Now her curiosity was peaked, and she was about to ask him why he was copying the text over, when he picked up his wand and waved it slowly over the freshly written words. Snape's handwriting changed from Azerbaijani to English.

"How long have you been awake?" Cassie asked, as she noticed that there were rolls of parchment on the table stacked neatly together, likely recipes that he had already translated that morning.

"Few hours," he said gruffly as he examined the one he had just completed. "Venom from a Phantasmal poison-arrow frog...that will be incredibly difficult to come by. I might be able to substitute viper venom, with the right variations," he was muttering, and Cassie knew he was speaking his thoughts out loud, rather than to her.

"Would you like some tea?" she asked as she started to pull out what she needed from his cupboards, and then she noticed that he had a cup of it beside him at the table. When she went to fetch it, it was still mostly full, the contents of it cold and forgotten in his mania. She brewed them their morning drink in silence, letting him continue his work and stealing glances at him, because she loved watching him in his throws of obsession like this with his brow furrowed, his curtain of hair framing his austere expression as he leaned forward to peer more closely at the book she had gotten him.

Snape finally tore his eyes away from what he was doing when Cassie set a steaming cup of the hot beverage in front of him, and went to sit across from him at the table. "Anything good?" she asked, taking a sip.

"This text has been extremely worthwhile to look through," he replied, and he started to carefully page through the book again. "I haven't translated the entire thing, but I've already come across several potions that I've never brewed."

"Good," Cassie said, smiling. "I'm glad you're enjoying it, Sev."

He closed the book then, although he appeared to be rather reluctant to do so, and then started to drink his own tea. "It's time I take a break from it, anyway. I need to patrol, see what Potter is up to."

"No, no!" Cassie said, shaking her head. "Severus, I can do that, you keep doing what you were doing."

"Cassie, it's not your responsibility," he started to say, but Cassie got up from her chair, intending to go get dressed and head out so he wouldn't have a chance to argue.

"I can handle it," she said, heading into the living room, but he had followed her.

"I know you can," he muttered before latching onto her upper arms to stop her in her tracks, and pulling her towards the couch. She yelped in surprise and delight as he nestled himself on top of her and began nuzzling her neck, his hand finding its way under the hem of the borrowed nightshirt she was wearing to start stroking her.

"I thought you'd be tuckered out after last night," she teased, and she gasped as he nipped at the soft flesh of her neck with his teeth. He shifted his weight, using his knee to quickly pry apart her legs, and she buried a hand in his hair, giving it a light tug, making him growl at the sensation.

"Never," he replied lowly. She wondered if he was in a similar mood as the night before, wanting to take things at an almost painstakingly slow pace, but her silent question was answered when he swiftly pulled his stiff cock out of his pants, and started to push the tip inside her already wet entrance. She inhaled sharply at the sudden penetration, and he suddenly looked up at her in concern, his black eyes searching her face. "Did I hurt you?"

"No," she breathed, "No, just a bit sore, is all," she said. Kissing her deeply first in apology, he started his thrusts out slowly, giving her a chance to adjust to his length inside of her once again. When she was fully beyond the pain and only feeling pleasure, she urged him on, digging the tips of her fingers into his butt cheeks, willing him to pound into her like she had wanted last night without restraint, and he complied this time, making her cry out so loudly that they were both glad that they were deep in the dungeons where no one could overhear.

"Will you always divert my attention away from important things, wretched girl?" Snape harassed her softly when they were done. He was seated on the loveseat, having put himself back into his lounge pants, seeming rather content to just watch her walk away to get ready for the day.

"Excuse me?" Cassie retorted with a giggle. "If I recall correctly, I was the one that was going to get dressed and leave, but you distracted me!"

"It was your fault," he said, following her into the bathroom now and turning on the water to the tub. "Wearing nothing but my nightshirt and that necklace."

"Well, next time I'll wear nothing at all," she said, and she was rewarded with a smart smack to her bottom, making her giggle even harder. They had a short, lighthearted argument about who was going to patrol, and finally Snape submitted, letting Cassie doing this favor for him so he could continue to comb through his Christmas gift at his leisure.

Her first stop was the Great Hall, and when she spotted Harry there, along with Ron, Fred, and George, she headed up to the third floor corridor. Nothing seemed amiss, so she slowly walked through the castle, politely greeting the few students and ghosts she came across, and then headed out to the grounds.

She was only by herself for an hour, and already she was finding out that to be alone with her thoughts was a mistake. She had started out enjoying the peacefulness of the nearly empty castle, and now being outside, the still grey sky and the snow-covered campus looked almost picturesque. But now, as the treeline of the Forbidden Forest came into view, she began to reminisce about the night she went searching for the centaurs, and the revelation that Firenze had made, and she began to think of wars and carnage and choices.

Everyone said it like it was just so easy. Like, check a box, right or wrong, yes or no. She knew her father and mother were evil, there was no doubt about that. Being away from them for this long, she could say until she was blue in the face that she despised everything about them and what they stood for, but at the end of the day, they were her parents, for goodness' sake. Granted, she had never really grown to have much affection for Voldemort, as he was inept at giving her any, but as a small child she had still longed for it in some way, had hoped she could eventually earn it. And as far as Bellatrix...she had countless memories of her madness and cruelty. But she also had some recollections of closeness and sentiment, of warm hugs and kisses, of playfulness and laughter. If her mother came to her someday, pleading for Cassie to come to her side, would it be so easy to deny her?

She tried to think of the benevolent influences in her life, of Molly and Arthur, of Andromeda and Ted, of the countless professors that had shown her kindness through her years at Hogwarts; even Narcissa, when she was younger, had shown her a maternal, loving relationship. If it came down to it, could she really betray all of those people, turn her back on them and everything they've tried to teach her through the years?

And then Cassie thought of Snape, the defected Death Eater, whom she could distinctly remember being in her father's inner circle when she was a child, who had been present so many times in her blood curdling memories, who sometimes was present in the nightmares that robbed her of a restful night's sleep. Now, she shared a bed with him when she could, shared the most intimate parts of her heart with him. Even knowing his past, having seen some of the horrific things he'd done as his younger self, she'd grown to trust him, love him. He had told her that he was planning to spy when her father came back, put himself in mortal danger from the get go, was already Dumbledore's right hand man.

She could never betray him, she was sure of it. It would break her very soul.

Cassie was pulled out her thoughts when she heard Hagrid cheerily calling her name from outside of his hut. She hastily tried to wipe away the tears that were starting to freeze to her cheeks, and waved to him, called back enthusiastically. Joining him for a bit of tea and some questionable blackberry muffins in his hut, she tried to excuse herself after a few minutes, as she had to trail Harry, make sure he was still out of Quirrell's sight. She was able to leave in due time, but had learned that Hagrid had found a dead unicorn the other night.

Suddenly, Cassie felt a gripping sense of urgency as she headed back to the castle. Oh, how she wished that she could have that sense of serenity that she felt this morning when she had woken up. It seemed fragile, so fleeting now.

It took some searching, but she found him in the library with Ron once again. She greeted them with smiles, but they looked burdened.

"Hi," Cassie said, coming to sit down next to Ron, and she raised her eyebrow when he suddenly slammed the book shut that he had been reading.

"Hello," he said quickly, exchanging glances with Harry.

"Did you two have a good Christmas?" Cassie asked slowly, now feeling quite awkward, like she had interrupted something secretive.

"Oh, you know," Harry said, and the boys where still looking at each other.

"You?" Ron asked meekly, finally tearing his eyes away from Harry to look at Cassie, but he was looking past her, like he couldn't bring himself to look her in the eye.

"Uh, it was okay," Cassie said. "I got suckered into going to Draco's Christmas Eve, which was thrilling as I'm sure you'd guess," and they exchanged glances again. Okay, something was up. "And I went to Tonks' parents' yesterday."

"Oh," Ron said. Silence.

"Your mom knit me a really nice sweater," Cassie said. "Cozy, as always."

"Yeah, me too," Harry said, clearing his throat.

"And Charlie sent me a dragon scale," Cassie continued. "Really cool." Now, both boys were looking down at the table. Cassie glanced at the stack of rather advanced history textbooks they had piled next to them, and suddenly, Harry put his arm over the titles, not being entirely subtle. "Listen, I know I'm not officially on tutoring duty, but do you two need any homework help? I'm open."

"No," they said in unison. Cassie looked between the two of them, wishing that one of them would give something up, because this was the strangest interaction she'd ever had with either one of them.

"Okay," she said, nodding. "Well, I'm going to go." She got up, intending to leave, because she could almost feel the tension vibrating through the air, when Ron suddenly piped up.

"You going to see Snape?" he asked rather loudly, and when Cassie turned to look at him, his ears had turned pink. Harry's eyes were now locked on her instead of on the table, seemingly looking for a reaction out of her now.

"Not at this particular moment," she answered, narrowing her eyes. "Why?"

"Do you trust him?" Ron asked then.

"With what?" Cassie asked, because she had no clue what the Gryffindor was trying to get at.

"We don't think you should," Harry piped up.

"Is there something you two want to tell me?" Cassie asked then. They exchanged glances again. Eleven year olds were not particularly good at being sly, she was noticing. Ron shrugged at Harry, and then Harry spoke, obviously for the both of them.

"No."

She left then, because obviously this conversation was going to go nowhere productive. But she knew then, that somehow, she had lost the boys' trust. But no matter, because she, along with Snape, was going to do everything she could to keep Harry Potter safe.


As the days passed and the term had started up again, Cassie noticed a few things. The first, was that Harry, Ron, and Hermione were continuing to spend an inordinate amount of time in the library, even between classes for minutes at a time. When Cassie had pondered out loud yet again what they were doing, Snape had responded, "Who cares? At least then we know where Potter is."

"Do you think they know about the Stone?" she asked.

"Even if they do, it doesn't matter."

"But they seem awfully apprehensive of you, Severus, and now me. What if they think we're trying to get - "

"And again, I reiterate: who cares?" Snape snapped at her. Gone was the tranquility, the easygoing nature they had enjoyed over Christmas break when Quirrell had left for part of it. Cassie had classes and studying to worry about, so she had little time to contribute to Quirrell-stalking, leaving a lot of it once again to the Head of Slytherin House. She had half a mind to say something to Dumbledore, to tell him that he could take care of it all himself, since he wasn't completely keeping them in the loop about it anyway. But she didn't, as she tried to keep her arguing with the powerful elderly wizard to a minimum. That, and she wasn't keen on revisiting the last conversation she had had with him, and had managed to avoid speaking with him so far.

The second thing she noticed, was that Quirrell seemed extra jumpy, was quite a bit thinner, and stuttered even more these days. She hoped it was because she and Snape were getting to him. They weren't exactly trying to hide the fact that they were tailing him every chance they could, and every day, she was hopeful that it would be the day that he just decided to quit and leave Hogwarts forever. But so far, no luck.

Snape's birthday was fast approaching, and Cassie was determined to make it special for him, even if both of them were stressed. It landed on a Wednesday, and she didn't know of an easy way to make sure that her stubborn Head of House would agree to stay in his quarters and actually relax. So, being the Slytherin that she was, she made sure that she had all of the proper areas covered. She paid Fred and George enough galleons to keep their mouths shut and to do her bidding without asking any questions, and had sent them on their missions. Their first, was to make sure that there was a party going on in the Gryffindor common room that was so fun, that not even the trio could resist leaving for the library that evening. The second, and which cost Cassie an even larger sum of gold, because Fred and George wanted to be at said party, was to do something so obnoxious in Defense Against the Dark Arts that Quirrell would have no choice but to have them in detention.

She didn't ask what they'd done when they came to her and said they'd been successful. She knew it must have been bad, because Quirrell had nearly passed out, and had assigned detention straight away. All she cared about was that she finally had an evening with her muse again. When she had Snape alone in his office and told him of her plan, he definitely was not convinced.

"Quirrell might cut detention early," he pointed out. "Or Potter might leave the common room. You have no way of knowing that anyone will stay put."

"Then I'll leave, go check on things so you can stay here," Cassie said, nearly pleading now. "Severus, I just want you to relax tonight, if nothing else."

"I don't need to relax!" he barked at her. She raised an eyebrow at him, putting her hands on her hips, like a stern mother.

"Really? You don't?"

"I don't need you looking after me like I'm a child," he spat, and then Cassie rounded the desk, coming to lower herself onto his lap and wrap her arms around his neck. She could feel that he was tense just by putting her body on his.

"I do need to look after you," she countered softly, pressing her forehead against his, and she felt him let out a long breath. "That's what we do for each other. Will you let me do this for you, please?" She planted a kiss on his lips, and he started to relax even more.

"Alright," he said quietly, finally starting to return her kisses. "Fine."

"That's what I wanted to hear," Cassie said, smiling. She pressed her lips against his even harder, and then she stood up, taking his hand in hers, leading him to his quarters. She led him to one of the chairs, started the fireplace with a flick of her wrist, and poured him a glass of wine. She handed it to him, kissing him again, and then she moved her attentions to his neck, placing her hand on his face gently.

"Are you relaxed yet?" she whispered in his ear, her hand trailing from his face, down his torso, then going to rub over his crotch.

"Mmm," he said, taking a sip of his wine, looking at her mischievously. She was thrilled to see a look on his face other than pissed off or indifferent. "Not quite."

"Well," she said, smiling as she started to work at his belt, "Let's see if I can do something about that." She dropped to the floor, coming to rest on her knees between his legs, using both of her hands now to free him from his pants. He continued to sip his wine as he watched her with keen interest, and when she started to slowly pump his erection with her hands, he inhaled deeply.

She lowered her head, using her tongue to swirl around the tip of his enlarged cock, making him throw back his head in elation and groan, but still keep his eyes on her. She went slowly, creating a visual for him as much as a pleasurable sensation, teasing him as she continued to use her tongue to slowly lick at the tip, then start from the bottom and work her way up.

She took him into her mouth then, making a tight seal around the head of his dick with her lips, and he let out a low growl as she started to move her head up and down, her hands working the shaft as she went. Loving the sight of him losing control as she continued to work on him, she could feel her own arousal increase, a wetness pooling in her underwear as he panted. Using his free hand, he reached down to her head, lovingly brushing her hair out of her face and holding it back, simultaneously wanting to keep it out of the way so he could clearly see the action going on, while keep it out of her way as she went. Suddenly, she plunged her head down, taking him as deep into the back of her throat as she possibly could, and he moaned so loudly that she couldn't resist touching herself any longer as she continued. Keeping up the same enthusiastic pace, it wasn't long before he was climaxing in her mouth, and she swallowed, once again swirling her tongue around the tip when she was done, his panting finally starting to slow as he watched her.

"Come here, you silly thing," he muttered, setting his wine glass on the ground and pulling her onto his lap. He settled her so she was straddling him, her legs splayed on either side of his thighs. Before she had a chance to protest, he started to rub circles around her swollen nub, and she threw her head back in ecstasy, thankful for the sudden contact. He leaned forward, starting to plant kisses, then suck on the soft skin where her neck and collarbone meet. He had to wrap his arm around her to keep her from falling off the chair, she came so hard, and then she fell forward onto his chest, panting and giggling at the same time.

"So," she said between breaths, reaching down to retrieve his wine glass and steal a sip, "Are you relaxed yet?"

"Yes," he admitted, and she caught a rare smile on Severus Snape's face. She nuzzled into his neck, wrapping an arm around his chest to hold him closer.

"I got you a cake from the kitchens," she said, "Vanilla with buttercream."

"You spoil me," he murmured.

"Yes, and on that note," Cassie said, starting to peel herself off of him, "I'd better go make my rounds." She was hoping he was going to stop her, that he was going to say that he trusted the plan she had set up for the evening, but he didn't. So she smoothed her clothing out, and headed towards the door.

"Cassie," he said suddenly, standing up from the chair. "Do you have any jewelry in your dorm, something that's not sentimental?"

Cassie gave him a confused look. "Yeah, probably. Why?"

"I need you to fetch it, and meet me in my office when you come back."

"What for?" she asked, but he was already going to his bookshelves, rifling through the scrolls of parchment that he had translated from the antique potions book. She didn't press for answers, knowing he had something up his sleeve now.

She left him then, quickly making her way to Gryffindor tower, which sounded very much like there might be some loud music playing. She went by the library, and it was practically empty, with no sign of Harry or Ron inside, which meant that they were still probably in the their common room. Her next stop was the DADA classroom, and she smiled when she walked past, seeing Quirrell seated at his desk with his face in his hands, Fred and George yammering away animatedly, not looking like they were copying any of the lines they were likely assigned. So far, everything was going according to plan.

Ignoring everyone in the Slytherin common room when she entered, she quickly made her way to the dorm room that she rarely spent time in any more, and started rifling through her dresser, trying to find something that matched Snape's requirements.

"What, did you and your boy toy break up?" Laanstra sneered at her, who was lying on her bed, picking at her nails.

"Who said I was dating a boy?" Cassie said casually. Having just located a bronze bracelet with an emerald stone in the middle that she had gotten from the Malfoys one year, she then turned to leave, her dorm mates staring after her with their jaws hanging open.

She found Snape in his office like he had said, and he was starting to set up for brewing a potion, a cauldron on the fire already, a translated recipe hovering midair from a carefully placed charm.

"Okay," Cassie said, handing him the bracelet, and he looked it at briefly, then quickly tossed it onto his desk. "What are we doing?"

"It's called Aşağıdakı Layihəsi," he said, starting to pull ingredients from his stores.

"I love it when you talk nonsense to me," Cassie said sarcastically, having no clue what he had just referred to.

"It roughly translates to 'Draught of Following'," Snape explained, too engrossed in getting this going that he either didn't pick up on or was choosing to ignore her banter. "I found it in the text you gave me, I wanted to try it, but there are so many components I don't have, so many things that could go wrong if I use the incorrect substitutions."

"What does it do, if it works?"

"We'd put the bracelet into the finished potion, and then we'd bottle some up and throw it at Quirrell's feet," Snape said. He started to expertly, evenly chop what looked like some sort of large lizard's tongue. "Then the bracelet would glow, tell us certain things about him. A black glow would indicate malicious intent, yellow would be neutral, blue would be fear. And if it stopped all together, it would mean he was in a different vicinity from the object that we used."

"So if he left Hogwarts, we'd know for sure?"

"Yes."

"Okay," Cassie said slowly, "so what made you decide that this was suddenly a great idea?"

"I'm still not sure it is," Snape said, and he tossed a handful of his chopped product into the cauldron, a ball of flames shooting up momentarily. He didn't react, clearly expecting it to happen. Cassie, however, had nearly toppled over a chair when she had startled from it. "Like I explained, I'm going to have to substitute a lot of ingredients. It could go very wrong, tell us the wrong thing, or kill him - "

"I'd be okay with that."

"Or give him a lot of power unintentionally."

"Oh," Cassie said, biting her bottom lip. "Well, you're brilliant, Sev. If anyone can figure it out, you will."

"I know," he muttered, looking over the floating parchment carefully again. "I've just decided I'm sick of playing cat and mouse."

"Can't I just curse him and be done with it?"

"I've already run that by Dumbledore. He said no."

Cassie sighed. "Okay, let's do it. Tell me what to do, Potions Master."

They worked well into the night, and by the time they were done, they were so strung out from trying to get every detail right that there was no way they were getting to sleep. But when the elixir was a bright shade of blue and bubbling softly, Snape was satisfied that he had gotten it right, and Cassie was in no position to question his authority on the matter. So, they carefully dropped the bracelet into the thick liquid, and siphoned a small amount of it into a glass vial.

The next step then, was to find Quirrell, and throw it at his feet. Cassie was rather surprised that Snape was fighting her on it, because both of them were rather eager to do something that aggressive to the wizard that had been causing them so much grief. They decided to go together so at the very least, they could both see his reaction.

It was early morning, about an hour before the first students and staff would be heading to the Great Hall for breakfast, and they started to head towards Quirrell's classroom. Cassie was a tired, giddy mess by then, and had to refrain from playfully touching Snape as they made their towards their intended victim.

"You're sure we shouldn't run this by Dumbledore first?" she whispered when they were heading up the last staircase.

"He put me in charge of watching him," Snape said, shrugging. "This counts as watching him, doesn't it?"

"I think I've been a bad influence on you, Professor Snape," she replied, snorting in laughter. They positioned themselves outside of Quirrell's door, Cassie on one side, Snape on the other, standing about ten feet away from each other. Then, they paused. Snape adopted his same cold, collected demeanor as they waited, standing up straight with his hands folded neatly in front of him, but Cassie was pacing, gritting her teeth, ready to get on with it. Her heart nearly pounded out of her chest when she heard the doorknob started to turn, and she looked at Snape excitedly, grasping the vial in her hand. He nodded at her slightly, one side of his mouth curling ever so slightly as he looked at her.

"Morning, Quirrell," Snape drawled as the professor stepped out of his classroom, and Quirrell nearly jumped back in when he saw him.

"S-severus," he said, clutching at his chest. "W-what are you d-d-doing here?"

"Oh, Miss Black and I were just out for a little morning stroll," he said, and Quirrell turned, just as Cassie whipped the vial with all her might at the wizard's feet. The glass shattered, the blue liquid hitting the floor and vaporizing into the air in a cloud of smoke, making a loud, high-pitched hiss. Quirrell shrieked in fear, so startled that Cassie swore it almost sounded like he had two voices as he screamed.

"Oh, sorry, Professor," Cassie said sweetly as the cloud quickly disappeared. "Must have dropped something." She quickly walked towards Snape, and the two of them walked down the staircase, making their way to the dungeons once again. They would have loved to follow Quirrell and see how he was handling the sudden bombardment, except they wanted to see if the bracelet was reacting.

As soon as they got back to Snape's office, they pulled it from the liquid using a charm, and Cassie let out a chuckle when she saw that it was glowing a bright shade of blue.

"Fear," she breathed, and Snape nodded.

They were a few minutes late to breakfast, as they had to clean up the cauldron, and then Snape had a renewed burst of energy, pushing Cassie up against his desk and starting another round of vigorous love making once again. Cassie was sure she was going to keel over by the afternoon from the lack of sleep and their continuous romps in the dungeons, but she wasn't about to complain. She had the bracelet on her arm covered by the sleeve of her uniform robes, and when she checked on it while downing some eggs, she was pleased to see that it was still bright blue.

She looked up at Snape, who was seated at the High Table talking to Hagrid, and caught his eye, giving him a wink. The owls started to come in with the post, and Cassie was surprised when she saw that she had two letters, when she was used to getting none most days.

Grabbing the first one, she outwardly groaned when she saw Charlie's handwriting. She debating leaving it alone for now, because she was tired and had enough to deal with right now, but decided to bite the bullet and just read it now.

'Green Pea,

Hope you liked my Christmas gift. I was so excited to send something to you, I sent this letter soon after. I realize now how much I've missed you. It may have taken this long because of how busy I've been. But I hope that you can take the time to write me one, too.

I'll be anxiously waiting. I hope you're not too mad at me for everything.

Love,

Charlie.'

Cassie folded the letter back up. She wished Tonks was there right now, so she had someone to talk trash about him with. It really was a nuisance at this point, him pining after her now. She made a mental note to send him a response, to let him down gently so he could go back to dragon keeping without wondering about her.

She reached for the second one, a brown, crumpled envelope with no writing on the outside. When she opened it, she first saw her name written in elegant loops, and the handwriting looked familiar, to the point that it made her brain freeze for a moment. She didn't know why, but her hands were shaking as she unfolded the parchment to this letter.

'Cassiopeia,

My darling daughter. I know this may come as a bit of a shock. But someone has helped Mommy get this to you. It's been so, so long, I do hope that you still remember me, my sweet girl. I've been thinking of you every single day since I've been here. I hope that one day I can return to you.

I do hope that you're keeping the right company. Remember where you come from, whose heir you are. Be proud, be noble. Toujours Pur.

Bella

Cassie felt like her vision was going dark, that the room around her was spinning. She knew she should probably stay seated, but as her breathing started to come in ragged gasps as she started to panic, she had one thought: get to Snape, her anchor. Her safe space.

She stood, clutching the letter in hand, knowing no one else could see it or it might be the end of her. But within seconds, she was down on the ground, students around her screaming, the world around her going silent and black.



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