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 hustle and bustle of platform nine and three-quarters was something that was so incredibly familiar to Cassiopeia Black, that she barely registered all of the students and families around her as she made her way to the train with her belongings. Her mind was elsewhere, caught in memories of the previous years she had been at this very same place. One would assume that since she was going to be entering her seventh year at Hogwarts that she would be solemnly realizing that this would be her last time boarding the train to go to Hogwarts; however, the young witch was instead pondering how lonely this year was going to be for her.

Her two closest friends had been a year older than her and therefore had graduated from Hogwarts in the previous spring. Even now, in this first official school year activity, she was unsure of who she was going to talk to while the Hogwarts Express glided through the countryside. But it wasn't like she wasn't used to being the odd one out; with everyone knowing who her family was, she was ostracized from the majority of the magical community from the beginning of her magical education.

Luckily for her, just as she was contemplating finding a compartment full of first years that didn't know her and staring out the window silently for the entire trip, the Weasley family burst through the barrier. Her heart soared at seeing the gaggle of redheads making their way towards the train, and her uncle must have noticed at the same time because she heard a low groan rumble from his chest.

"The blood traitor brigade has arrived," Lucius sneered quietly, and Cassie looked up to him to shoot him a glare.

"Calm down, Uncle," Cassie hissed back, "No one is asking you to talk to them. Actually, I prefer it if you didn't."

"I won't talk to them," Draco interjected, and the blond boy crossed his arms over his chest as he watched the Weasleys with an air of smugness that rivaled his father's.

"Thank god," Cassie replied, rolling her eyes. She was about to abandon the Malfoys to go greet her favorite family and congratulate Ron on starting his first year when another person among their group made her freeze. It was a boy with messy, jet-black hair and round glasses, and even though she had never actually seen him in person before, she knew who he was in an instant. "Shit," she said under her breath, and her uncle looked down at her, a sly half-smile adorning his lips.

"What's the matter, Cass? Scared of an eleven-year-old?" Lucius goaded, his silver eyes sparkling with glee at Cassie's sudden discomfort at having the Potter boy among her friends.

"No," she replied calmly, taking a deep breath. "Not scared. Just...not wanting to have this introduction already."

Lucius clicked his tongue in disapproval. "You should be proud of your family, Miss Black, and your mother would be appalled at your attitude."

"I know. You remind me every day, Uncle." She started to push her cart of belongings towards the train again, not wanting to hear, yet again, another speech on the glory that was her heritage. She wished her aunt would back her up at least a little bit today, but Narcissa was so emotional over Draco leaving home for school that she had barely registered what anyone was saying for the last week. At the moment, she was fussing over smoothing Draco's robes so much that he was trying to pull himself from her clutches to follow his cousin.

"Mother, I'm fine!" he whispered hurriedly and yanked his robes from her pale hands.

"Oh - Cassie, can he ride in your compartment?" Narcissa called after them. With a flick of her wrist, Cassie's luggage and large silver cauldron floated up and into an empty compartment, stacking themselves neatly into a corner. Cassie sighed, turning to look at Draco, who was still watching the Weasley clan along with the Potter boy. She wanted to say no right away, that he needed to fend for himself (that and she didn't want to deal with his pompous attitude for the entire train ride), but then she recalled what it had been like to be a first-year, not knowing anyone.

She opened her mouth to tell him he could ride with her when suddenly Draco's attention snapped towards another group of people. Cassie groaned internally, as it was a familiar group of "ex"-Death Eaters along with their children.

"Crabbe! Goyle!" Draco called, waving for his friends to come over to him. "I've got a compartment over here!"

"No, you don't," Cassie interjected right away. "You and your lackeys can find another place. I'm not sitting with a trio of first years." Draco opened his mouth to argue, and with another flick of her wrist, his luggage started to move down the platform on its own. Draco was about to take off after it, but Cassie caught his arm in her hand. "If I hear that you start any trouble at all on this train, don't expect me to help you," she whispered, not wanting her already worried aunt to overhear her and start fussing all over again. "I mean it!"

Draco didn't say anything, but his eyes drifted over to the Weasleys again. It made Cassie's blood boil that his disdain for them had been passed down from his father, but she didn't have a chance to threaten him, because Narcissa was watching them closely now. She let go of Draco's arm and he took off after his things, Crabbe and Goyle in pursuit with him. Now that they were out of her hair, she intended to climb onto the train and take her seat, but Narcissa had walked up to her.

"You aren't going to say goodbye, Cassie?" she asked, tears glistening in her eyes as they had been for the past several days.

"Sorry, Aunt Cissy," Cassie said quietly, giving her aunt a small hug. "Thank you for letting me stay with you this summer."

"Oh, don't thank me," Narcissa said, pulling out of the hug and sniffling as she looked at her niece. "We both know you didn't want to be there."

"I know, but either way, thanks."

"You will look after him, won't you?" Narcissa asked, and Cassie turned to follow her gaze; she was watching Draco and the other two boys, who were now heaving their things onto a compartment down the train.

"He doesn't need looking after. He needs someone to look after the kids he decides he doesn't like."

Her aunt gave her a disapproving look, and Cassie sighed. "Yes, Aunt Cissy. You know I will." With that, Narcissa started to make her way towards Draco to say her goodbyes to him, and Lucius was still chatting with the fathers of Crabbe and Goyle. She started to climb onto the train again, when a high-pitched, 'Oh!' behind her made her turn suddenly.

Cassie smacked right into Molly Weasley when she turned around, and the witch pulled her into a bear hug without a second's hesitation.

"Oh, Cassie! I've missed you, dear! How have you been?" Molly asked as she squeezed Cassie so tight that she could barely catch her breath.

"G-good!" Cassie choked, and Molly released her vice grip on her, holding her at arm's length to look her up and down. It had been a month since Cassie had come by the Burrow for a visit, and Molly was used to worrying over the teenager's well-being.

"It wasn't just me that missed you, dear, the whole family did," Molly said. "Did the Malfoys treat you all right?" The reason she was so concerned was that the previous summer breaks, Cassie had spent the majority of her time at the Burrow. She had been best friends with Charlie since her first year, and they had dated in her fifth and sixth years; the Weasleys were more than happy to have her spend time with them and away from the influences of the Malfoys. But Charlie had broken up with Cassie near the end of the last school year, as he hadn't wanted to be distracted by a long-distance romance while starting his career studying dragons in Romania. Molly and Arthur, who were like parents to Cassie, had insisted that Cassie still spend time with the family, but Cassie just couldn't bring herself to do it just yet.

"Yeah," Cassie replied, and she forced herself to smile at Molly. "Have you heard from Charlie lately? How's he doing?"

"Oh, he's fine, deary," Molly said. "Busy, like we expected." Her demeanor deflated a bit as soon as Charlie was mentioned, something that happened every time he was brought up in their conversations. Cassie knew it was because Molly completely disagreed with his decision to break up with her, but Cassie still couldn't help but wonder how he was doing with his adult life.

"Good," Cassie said. The whistle sounded, signaling that the train was departing soon, and Molly pulled her into another hug.

"You will look after Ron?" she asked, echoing what Narcissa had asked of Cassie not that long ago.

"Of course, Molly," Cassie said warmly. Finally boarding the train, she was pleasantly surprised to see that her compartment now held two more seventh-year students. The first was Juniper Ringwald, a Ravenclaw, and the other was Alpit Khatri, a Hufflepuff. Like Cassie, they were aspiring to be Aurors after graduation, and the three of them had become somewhat close as they helped one another in their studies.

"Hey June, hey Al!" Cassie said as she got into her seat. "How's your summer?"

They greeted each other and caught up on the past few months, and Cassie found herself breathing a sigh of relief. She knew this year was going to be immensely different having Charlie and Tonks gone, but the past hour had shown her that she would be just fine. As the three of them talked and ate food they had bought off the trolley, Cassie made a mental note of how pleasant this train ride seemed to be going as compared to other years. She was used to younger students, mainly first years, coming by her compartment to gawk at her in either awe or fear. But she knew why there was a lack of unwanted passersby this year: Harry Potter was on the train.

She was dreading the moment that they would meet, something that would inevitably happen at some point while at Hogwarts. She, like everyone else, had heard that he had grown up with Muggles, and she didn't know how much of his back story he knew. At some point, he would know that her father had murdered his parents, and she hoped he wouldn't hate her for it. It was a worry she had with almost anyone new that she met, that they would judge her by her family, especially when they or their loved ones had suffered because of them. But this would be more public, more anticipated by the rest of the students, and she had worked so hard over the past few years to not be viewed as nothing more than Lord Voldemort's daughter.

Her thoughts were interrupted when a round-faced boy suddenly opened the door of their compartment, telling them tearfully that he had lost his toad. Cassie already felt bad for the boy, who seemed to be searching for it alone, so she reluctantly agreed to help him look for it.

"Either of you want to help?" Cassie said to her companions, and Alpit stood up the follow her, although she knew he'd probably be distracted by the compartment full of sixth-year girls just down the aisle. Juniper, on the other hand, had already pulled out her copy of Advanced Potion Making.

"Sorry, Cass. I'm going to read the first few chapters. Gotta get a leg up for Snape's class, you know?" she said, and started to read. Had it been anyone else, Cassie would have thought she was making excuses not to help look for a first year's lost toad. But she knew Juniper had to work extra hard to do well in Potions, as Cassie had the same issue. She was currently traveling with a silver cauldron because she melted one of Snape's last school year and owed him a new one. She had seen him several times this summer at Malfoy Manor, but as part of her punishment, he was making her lug it on the train and to Hogwarts for all the other students to see, rather than just let her give it to him during the summer. It was a classic Snape move, one that Cassie expected; and even though it made her life harder, she couldn't help but find the humor in it.

She and the boy looked for an hour before Cassie found the toad named Trevor hopping outside Neville's compartment. She carried it along with her as she then had to look for the owner of the toad, and when she found him, she was displeased to find that he had stumbled across her cousin's compartment.

"If I find it, I'll be sure to give it a good stomp before I give it back, yeah?" she heard Draco saying to the poor boy. "On second thought, why don't you give us your shoe? I wouldn't want to get disgusting toad guts on mine." She heard Crabbe and Goyle's laughter follow, and the boy turned around to flee just as she came up behind him.

"I've found him," she said, handing him the toad carefully, and then he hurried away. She saw Draco's smile leave his face when he saw his cousin suddenly appear in the doorway. "Impressive, Draco."

"He's an idiot," Draco said haughtily as if that justified his actions.

"I'm watching you," she warned, glaring at her cousin, who looked on the verge of pouting. "I've never had a problem with cursing bullies before, and don't think I won't have a problem doing it to you. And that goes for all three of you."

"I'd tell father - " Draco started, but Cassie was used to his game. She stepped into the compartment then, bending down so her face was inches from Draco's.

"So tell him," she said quietly, the tone in her voice dangerous. "See what happens, yeah?"

She left then, leaving the eleven-year-olds to mull over her warning, and she sought after the toad boy again. She found him sitting in his compartment, along with a bushy-haired girl.

"Sorry about them. The blond one is my little cousin. Nasty piece of work, best stay away from him if you can."

"But what if he's in my house?" the boy said miserably, holding his toad close to his chest.

"He'll be in Slytherin, no doubt. For some reason you don't strike me as the type," Cassie said giving him a small smile.

"What house are you in?" the girl piped up, and Cassie hesitated for a second.

"Slytherin."

"Oh. I'm hoping for Gryffindor, or maybe Ravenclaw," she replied, and Cassie noted that her tone was a bit imperious. "I'm Hermione Granger, by the way."

"And I'm Neville Longbottom," the boy with the toad added, and Cassie's stomach nearly fell out of her. She had been worried about meeting Harry Potter since she got to platform nine and three-quarters, and here she had been helping another student that she also had wanted to delay coming across.

"Oh, nice to meet you both," she said, starting to leave when the pushy girl spoke again.

"And what's your name?" she asked like she was owed and answer, and Cassie forced a fake smile on her face. She was intending to tutor first years this year, and already she hoped that this one didn't need any extra help.

"Cassie Black." Hermione didn't react, but Neville did; his teary eyes suddenly went wide and his face went from a shade of pale that it probably normally was, to a sort of yellow-green. "Anyway, I'll be heading back now," she said quickly, and left before either of them could say anything else. She was hurrying, pushing past other students so she could just go back to her compartment where Juniper was hopefully still reading quietly when she heard her name being called.

"Cass!" came two voices in unison, and she didn't have to see to know that Fred and George had found her. She was almost to her compartment, so she stepped inside, and waved for the two third-years to join her. Juniper, who was indeed still reading, huffed in annoyance when she saw the ginger-haired twins enter.

"Hey, long time no see!" said Fred.

"You miss us?" said George, and Cassie nodded, pulling them both into a hug.

"Sorry our brother is such a royal idiot," Fred said, patting her on the arm when they pulled apart.

"A downright nitwit - "

"A blubbering fool - "

"Alright, that's enough," Cassie said, giggling. "He had to make the decision that was best for him, you know. School romances don't always last."

"He's not going to find anyone as good as you," Fred told her.

"He'll have to end up marrying a dragon," George added, making Cassie laugh even harder.

They bantered for a few more minutes, and the twins left after Juniper cleared her throat in petty annoyance several times. Cassie sat down then, looking out the window and taking in the sight of the twisting woods that they were flying past.

"Has Al been back?" she asked, and Juniper glared up at her, obviously not grateful for another interruption.

"No. Probably off chasing some girls as usual," she answered and her eyes fell back down to the text in front of her.

"Oh, relax, June. Snape's classes aren't that bad," Cassie teased, knowing that was far from the truth.

"Easy for you to say, being teacher's pet," June snapped back.

"Woah, hey, you know I was just kidding," Cassie said, throwing up her hands. "I know just as well as you do how much of a prick he can be."

"No, you don't know," June retorted, now snapping her book shut and leaning forward. "You're in Slytherin, so he goes easier on you."

"He does not go easier on me - "

"And you know him outside of school! Don't you two like, go to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley together on breaks?"

Cassie was silent for a few seconds, surprised that anyone had taken the time to notice anything like that. Yes, she and Snape had a friendship outside of their professor-student dynamic, but they had also known each other since she was a toddler. "So what? I can't help it that I've known him my whole life. But I can guarantee you that he doesn't give me special treatment in his classes. Do you know how many times he's had me in detention for screwing up a potion?"

"Whatever," Juniper said, sitting back and opening her textbook again. "Just forget I said anything about it."

Cassie folded her arms over her chest defensively, feeling quite miffed at this argument. But Juniper was quick to anger, it was just part of her serious personality, and soon Cassie was feeling much calmer after she reminded herself this. She still didn't want to keep disturbing the studious Ravenclaw, so she decided to check on Ron as Molly had asked.

She found the twins again and was told which direction to go. What they didn't tell her, was that he was sharing a compartment with Harry freaking Potter. She went up to the door and slid it open, her stomach rolling over itself when she saw that the Boy Who Lived was looking at her in curiosity.

"Hey, Ron," she said, trying to sound as nonchalant as she could. "Just wanted to see how your train ride was going." She didn't want to tell him that Molly had asked her to look after him, or he'd be downright embarrassed.

"It's going great, Cass! Hey, this is Harry Potter!"

Cassie was slightly surprised that Ron hadn't put two and two together that this introduction might make her feel uncomfortable, but as she plastered a fake smile on her face yet again while she said hello to the Potter boy, she reminded herself that Ron was eleven, that he didn't understand the complexity of her anxiety regarding this stuff. As she told Harry her name, she was relieved to see that he didn't seem to know who she was even in the slightest, so she calmed a bit as she chatted with them about the sorting ceremony and which houses they might be put in.

"If you need anything, come find me, and not just the train ride. I mean at school, too," she told Ron before leaving, and she felt slightly better as she walked away. But seconds later, the memory of Neville's green face when he realized who she was flashed through her mind, and once again she was dreading the moment when Harry looked at her like that, too.



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