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 hours after Snape had invaded Cassie's mind were some of the most confusing of her existence. She was a tortured mess of emotions, feeling infuriated, betrayed, humiliated, and vulnerable all at once. Not having any clue how to resolve any of these issues, she roamed the castle without any agenda, ending up pacing down by the Black Lake alone for some time. As she skipped pebbles across the dark water, she started to repeat Snape's words in her head, and ruminate over the reasons why he did what he did. It was a gradual process, letting herself come to terms with accepting his actions, and seeing it all from his perspective. It was not the first time in her young life that the Potions Master had seen the harsh truth of her reality, the unfairness that came with being who she was. It probably wouldn't be the last.

As the sun set, and the tranquil environment around her grew duskier still, she began to feel more and more like a damn fool. Of course just letting some unknown entity enter her mind would be dangerous not only to her, but to those around her. She was smarter than that, or at least she thought she was. But she had been so terrified to ruin the one important friendship that she had at Hogwarts that she had been willing to wish the dangers away. Now, she was left wondering if she was that selfish, or naive.

When she finally made her way back to the Entry Hall, she was immediately scolded by a rather stern Percy Weasley, whom she essentially ignored even as he followed her closely and attempted to stick his new shiny prefect badge in her face. The only time she heard a word he was saying was when she heard 'Professor Snape' come from his mouth in a strict, irritating tone, and all it did was make Cassie's thoughts careen from one direction into another.

"...I'd have to tell Professor Snape, you know, Cassie," he was saying, not one step behind her as she made her way to the staircase that lead to the dungeons.

She didn't respond, and now she was thinking not of how stupid she had been acting about this whole situation, but of how she felt about Snape. Snape, one of her oldest friends. Her teacher, her Head of House, her confidant, the person she went to with almost anything short of things like feminine hygiene problems. He drove her nutty at times with his short fuse and his tendencies to criticize her every feature, and he rarely had anything positive to say about absolutely anything ever, but his company was whose she enjoyed the most out of anyone else in the world.

She couldn't let their friendship be ruined. It had to be fixed.

As she descended the stairs, Percy's voice suddenly flooded her ears, as he was now right beside her, probably intending to try to march her right into Snape's quarters to tattle on her. "...Quarter to midnight, I must go to him straight away - "

"Percy, if you don't shut it right now, I'll tell him how George caught you snogging yourself in the mirror this summer with your badge on," she said.

She made a point to turn and look at him so she could see his ears turn pink. He also looked like he was choking slightly.

"You - what - you wouldn't - "

"Go back to Gryffindor Tower, Percy," Cassie said, not unkindly, and the fifth-year suddenly turned on his heel and went back up the stairs. Cassie giggled for a bit before continuing on her way. As annoying as the interaction was, the humor that it offered was a welcome relief.

As she journeyed further into the dungeons, she weighed her options. She briefly considered going to Snape now, but she was exhausted and her emotions were fried, so she went back to her dorm instead. Even as crawled into bed, she knew part of her was making excuses, as she knew it probably would have been better to get the whole situation resolved now. But even knowing that, she couldn't fathom facing him, knowing he had seen her fantasies and desires, and she dreaded what was to come when they spoke next.

This time after falling asleep, she was fully aware of the attacks on her mind once it happened. She was able to shut them out after a time; in her unconsciousness, she couldn't tell how long it took. But afterward, she couldn't fall back asleep, choosing to go out to the common room to attempt to study instead. It was a fruitless task, and she ended up rereading the same few pages of text over and over, barely taking in the sentences in front of her. By the time Saturday morning came and other Slytherins began to meander from their dorms to make their way to breakfast, Cassie felt like the living dead.

"Black, I'd thought you died in your sleep, not hearing your incessant yelling," Danika said as she passed by the couch Cassie was sitting on, yawning loudly. Cassie gave her a small nod, not having the energy for a retort that morning.

Cassie skipped breakfast in the Great Hall that morning, choosing to stop by the kitchens yet again for an egg sandwich and a bit of fruit. Without putting much thought into it, she was out on the grounds again, the chill in the morning air so prominent that she could see her breath as she sped along. As far as she could tell, there were no other students on the grounds this early in the morning, which was what she was hoping for, because she was heading for the Forbidden Forest.

Venturing there when she hoped no one was looking was something she had done many times over her years at Hogwarts, although she tried not to do it too many times as to not attract attention to herself and get caught. She used it as a way to get some much-needed privacy, and this morning she was feeling the need to escape everything. The very idea of going to the Great Hall and being in Snape's presence had been way too much, and even going to the library to study and potentially make small talk with other students was enough to make her toes curl right then. The Slytherin common room would be full on a cold Saturday, and it wasn't like she had Charlie or Tonks to wander around with like she used to. All of those realizations combined with her lack of sleep almost sent her into a panic attack, and she had just started to head towards the forest without a second thought, keeping a close eye out for movement in Hagrid's hut as she went.

She never went into the Forbidden Forest at night, short of one or two times with Charlie to get a thrill when they were trying to dare one another. Cassie only ever stuck to one familiar path that followed a small brook on the outskirts. It led to a little clearing with a large, jagged boulder that she liked to sit on, and even in the daylight it could be difficult to find. She found the gnarled trunk of the oak tree that told her she was going the right way, and she moved along at a careful but hurried pace, feeling like someone might call her out at any moment.

The boulder came into sight in not more than fifteen minutes, and she breathed a quiet sigh of relief. After climbing up onto it without slipping and banging herself as she had done many times in the past, she sat cross-legged and took out her wand, conjuring a small, contained flame to cup in her hand to keep herself warm. Then, she sat back, not daring to keep her eyes closed, as that was a stupid thing to do in the forest, but attempted to relax in her solidarity. Here, she could enjoy the quiet. Here, she didn't have to deal with anyone.

She was enjoying the quiet for not more than a few minutes when she heard the stealthy, subdued flutter of wings above her, and she sat to attention to try to get a closer look; before she realized what was happening, a letter was dropping onto her a lap. She let out a laugh of relief when she realized that one of the school owls had followed her out there to deliver her mail. She waved to the tawny owl as it glided away, and she looked down to see her name in familiar penmanship. It took her a moment to realize it was Charlie's.

Then, a few things happened almost simultaneously, at least in Cassie's mind they had, for she had been so tired and her nerves so fried. Her heart began to beat wildly at wondering what Charlie, who she hadn't heard from since he had gone to Romania, would possibly have to say to her now. As she shakily turned the envelope over to open it, she heard the crunch of approaching footsteps, causing her to startle tremendously, and as she extinguished her small ball of flames and clamored from her precious boulder, she caught sight of a glint of silvery liquid on a dead trunk a few yards away.

Even as the thought to hide behind the boulder crossed her mind, Severus Snape came into view, and Cassie froze dead in her tracks. He looked livid; there was no hiding, no running from him now.

"What do you think you are doing out here?" he hissed, his voice dangerously low as he approached her. Right then, she'd rather he'd been yelling. Cassie was at a loss for words for a few moments and swallowed hard. "Do you realize how dangerous it is in here?"

"Yes," was all Cassie could muster at first, and then Snape took a step forward and ripped Charlie's letter from her hand. He glanced at it, flipped it over once, looked at her for a few long seconds, then pointed towards the path.

"Back to the castle, now!" he shouted, and his abrupt change in volume made Cassie flinch. She started to walk, but slowly. Then, she remembered the glint of silver and stopped walking after only a few steps.

"Severus, wait - "

"Do as you're told!" he commanded, but she disobeyed, instead going back the way they came. She heard him growl in frustration, but went over to the dead tree where she had seen it, squatting down to point it out. She didn't have to say anything, and his sallow features went from anger to astonishment. He came over to the spot to join her, and then slowly started to follow the trail of shiny liquid.

"Wand out," he said to her quietly after taking out his own, and he motioned for her to follow, stuffing Charlie's now unimportant letter in the pocket of his robes.

"Is that what I think it is?" Cassie asked, and he glanced at her.

"What do you think it is?" he asked as if quizzing her during a class, and she rolled her eyes.

"Unicorn blood."

"Then yes, it is."

"Ten points to Slytherin!" she whispered sarcastically, and he scowled at her.

"Now is not the time for jokes, Miss Black. Whatever injured this creature is very dangerous," he said ominously as they continued slowly. But the area around them was not particularly dense with foliage, and the sunlight was reaching down to the ground somewhat, making it seem like they were just having an early morning stroll through the trees. If it was not for the forest's menacing reputation and the trail of bodily fluids they were following, it might have been almost therapeutic.

They followed the trail without speaking much more for another ten minutes or so, before it started to lessen significantly and then disappear altogether, indicating that the creature's injuries had clotted off and it had gotten away from whatever had opened it up. Even so, Snape was wary, and he was adamant that Hagrid be told of what they had found as soon as they got back, as he had never heard of a unicorn being harmed before.

With the ice being broken between the two of them, Cassie was now feeling much braver. "Let's not head back quite yet, okay Severus?" she said as they started to back track the way they came, and Snape gave her a cautious side glance.

"Wanting to spend more time in the deadly forest, are you?" he said, and she knew she wasn't going to be getting off all that easily. "Why did you come in here?"

"I...wanted to be alone," she said slowly.

"There are plenty of places around the castle and the grounds to be alone!"

"Severus, I've been coming out here for years. Same spot since fourth year, in fact," she confessed. "I just made the mistake of coming out here before the mail was delivered. You followed the owl, didn't you?"

"The one day someone actually sends you something," he said, knowing it was a bit of a jab.

"Thanks for that."

"You're thoughtless sometimes, Miss Black," he responded as they came into view of her clearing again, and Cassie pushed past him to climb onto her boulder again.

"And thanks for that! You never fail to remind me of my shortcomings, do you, Severus?" she said, and sat cross-legged on the same spot she was on earlier that morning.

"Get down from there! We're going back at once - "

"No, we aren't!" she retaliated, lying on her back and placing her hands behind her head, like this was the most casual situation in the world. "You can go if you want, but I'd rather talk about last night."

"Miss Black, this is not up for debate," he hissed angrily, and Cassie knew she was pushing her luck with him, but she also knew he wouldn't just go back without her.

"I'll go back," she said, not moving from her spot at all, "once we talk."

"The forest is extremely dangerous, as you've just seen evidence of, and you have someone going around trying to enter and possibly control your mind, and yet you run around alone, gallivanting into the forest like you're invincible! What you fail to realize, Miss Black, is that I don't have the time, nor do I have the patience, to keep chasing after you!" he sneered, and Cassie was glad she was looking up at the forest canopy rather than his face. She knew he was probably looking like he was ready to kill her right then.

"I didn't ask you to chase after me this morning," she responded calmly.

"No, and you didn't ask me to enter your mind last night either, did you? But it had to be done!" he said, and she sat up suddenly, glad they were getting somewhere and ready to have this conversation. She could tell he was angry and getting defensive, and just as she suspected, he looked like he was ready to curse her.

"I know, Severus. I should have listened to you, I'm so sorry," she said. "I was terrified and selfish, and I shouldn't have slapped you, and I'm sorry."

It must not have been the response that he expected, because he blinked at her a few times and was silent for a few moments before letting out a quiet, "Oh."

"And I'm sorry that I put you through making that decision," she continued, and he held up his hand. They were still feet apart, with her seated on her rock, he standing on the forest floor.

"Then we should start Occlumency lessons straight away," he said. "Tonight, even."

"You have detention," she pointed out. "For the seventh-years that couldn't do the Wit-Sharpening Potion."

"That's right, I nearly forgot," he muttered, motioning for her to get off the boulder, and she started to climb off. Absentmindedly, he reached out a hand and grabbed one of hers to help keep her steady. "After, then. I know it will be late."

Cassie nearly gasped, as their connected hands sent waves of electricity up her arm and down her spine. She didn't know if it was her imagination or just her being desperately optimistic, but she thought he might have felt it too, because he suddenly had a surprised look on his face as if someone had shocked him. As soon as she was on the ground, he let go of her, and they were left looking at each other silently. Then Cassie felt that surge of bravery again.

"I want to talk about what you saw," she said softly, because although she was feeling bold enough to bring it up, she was still incredibly timid about putting her heart on the line. "Please."

The seconds of silence between them seemed like an eternity as both of them waited for the other to speak first. Cassie was trying to figure out the right wording to explain herself, because she couldn't possibly do it in a few short sentences, when he opened his mouth first.

"I saw a lot of images," he said, his deep voice so quiet that it barely seemed to register on her waiting ears. "It was hard to decipher what I was even seeing, Cassie."

No matter what Snape told her over the years, Cassie wasn't stupid. It was a rather definitive statement, she could tell. It was his way of avoiding the awkward subject. He didn't want to talk about it. And for her, it was as good as him telling her no, that he didn't want her, that he was rejecting her.

All that she could say, then, was, "Oh."

She went back up the castle without a fight, then. She knew she had to try to get some studying in now, because she had a long night of practicing Occlumency ahead of her.

The walk back to the grounds had been a rather silent one between Snape and Cassie. He assumed she was tired after their trek through the forest, and he had sent her back up to the castle alone so he could speak to Hagrid about the unicorn blood they had discovered. Hagrid had shared the same concern with him, that whatever had injured the innocent creature was something to be careful of, and that they would need to keep an eye out. Hagrid said he was on it. Snape was starting to have his theories about these occurrences; between having the Potter boy here, Cassie's mental intruder, her dreams, having the stone in the school, and now this, he would never believe they were all coincidences. He had his eye on someone, but it was a tad early to test his theory out. Time would tell, as it always did at Hogwarts.

Once he was back in his office, it was back to the mundane task of grading papers. He was working on that until lunch time, and it wasn't until he stood to head to the Great Hall that he discovered Cassie's forgotten letter in his pocket. He'd give it back to her at lunch, assuming she would actually show up for a blasted meal one of these days. She was making it rather hard to make her whereabouts predictable as of late, although he had to admit he couldn't blame her.

When he took his seat at the High Table and scanned his house table for Cassie, he wasn't surprised to see that she wasn't there. Muttering some indiscernible profanities under his breath, he made a mental note to find her first-year cousin and task him with tracking her down and giving it to her throughout the day. Maybe it would keep him busy and out of trouble for half a day, that would be a welcome change. Snape was tired of having to contact Lucius after each time Draco decided to play bully and then having to kiss his butt for punishing him for it. The charade was getting tiresome already, and having been on rocky terms with Cassie for the first part of the term, he couldn't even trust her to dole out her form of punishment on her cousin and leave it at that. He'd never told the girl, but he'd always admired her slightly dark sense of justice she liked to sick upon the bullies of Hogwarts. There were plenty of times he'd known she'd done things to the blood purists over the years and he'd turned a blind eye, only punishing her if the other professors had known as well. It was a secret he'd maybe only divulge after she'd graduated. And that was a big maybe.

Snape found Draco along with his cronies Crabbe and Goyle right after lunch, although it wasn't in a situation he was pleased to find the trio in; they were in the courtyard attempting to give the Longbottom boy a wedgie, and the Potter and Weasley boys were about to defend him with their fists. Thank god all of them were first years and didn't know how to hex each other yet, or he'd be cleaning puke and pus in addition to taking house points.

After taking a rather large amount from Gryffindor and none from Slytherin, Snape attempted to give the letter to Draco and send him to find Cassie.

"Oi, not again!" Draco whined, rolling his eyes dramatically. "I'm not an errand boy!"

"I'm not asking," Snape warned, and then the Weasley boy, who was eavesdropping, chimed in.

"She's over at Hagrid's with Fred and George, I think. I'll take it," he offered. Without offering to give any points back to Gryffindor, Snape handed the letter over.

"Don't open it," Snape warned.

"Hey, this is Charlie's handwriting!" the Weasley boy exclaimed, looking at the envelope excitedly with Potter, and Snape felt a familiar pang, one that he hadn't felt in a very, very long time.

Was it jealousy?

Nevermind, push it aside. There was work to do. There was nothing to be jealous over, mind you. Cassie was a seventh-year student, for Merlin's sake. She's seventeen. Which is of age, by the way...BUT no matter, she's a student.

And what's to be jealous of? Charlie Weasley, washed up Hogwarts Quidditch Star, is an ex-boyfriend. He's in Romania. He's nothing to her.

But it doesn't matter, even if he was something to her.

Damnit, get it together.

Snape pushed on with grading papers, and prepping for detention, and keeping tabs on Potter for the afternoon. Hmm, Quirrell seemed extra jumpy today, hasn't he? Not buying it, the beady-eyed, turban-wearing fraud. He'd better not even think of saying something odd to Cassie again, or he'd wish he'd never walked through the castle doors in the first place...

And there Snape was, thinking of Cassie again. He was finding that she crossed his mind more and more frequently as of late. Especially since he'd delved into her mind and seen her fantasies of the two of them, it was like he couldn't shake her. And then they'd briefly gripped hands in the woods, and it was like an electric current between the two of them, and he kept reliving the feeling.

But he couldn't. She's a student, she's a student, she's a student.

All he could focus on was the fact that they had Occlumency lessons later that night. That was a problem. Because he was supposed to be focusing on keeping the Potter boy safe, Lily's son. He had to focus.

Detention with the seventh-years came. It was a mainly silent affair as they came in, sat down, copied text. Snape tried to focus on papers, lesson planning. It seemed to go on forever and yet fly by as he anticipated the raven-haired girl walking through his door next. His classroom emptied, he sat at his desk and waited, it was ten o'clock, and then she came in.

"Severus," she said, greeting him by his first name. Her long, dark locks were cascading down her shoulders. Being a weekend, and late at night, she was wearing a plain black t-shirt and jeans, her wand poking out of her pocket.

"Professor Snape," he corrected her, trying to establish the formality to keep the wall up between them. It rarely ever worked. "Have a seat, Miss Black." She obeyed, picking a random desk and settling in. They didn't have to discuss the process of practicing this, as they'd done it countless times before. At least tonight would be nothing would be like the previous one. Tonight, they were on the same page and would be dancing the same dance. They were both ready, and without saying another word, they began.

Perhaps Cassie was motivated to keep Snape from seeing her fantasies again, because she was able to force him out and keep him out, and they had practiced for only an hour. Snape was rather proud of her, because he was not doing her the favor of going easy on her, not in the least bit. Nonetheless, they were both exhausted by the end of it, and bid each other goodnight without saying much.

Now, Snape had to go to bed alone with fresh images of Cassie's fantasies of the two of them, which was frustrating. But one thing that made him a bit cheerful was that while in her mind, he saw what was in Charlie's letter, and every word of it had been platonic.

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