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.

Cassie would have been more than happy for her visit with the Tonks' and the Weasleys to go well into the night, but Madam Pomfrey was already seeming to be at her breaking point when dinner was brought to the hospital wing. Finally, when a Hufflepuff fourth year was brought in after being hit with a hex that made him produce rather excessive quantities of mucus and saliva, did the nurse send all of Cassie's visitors on their way for the night. Their sudden departure from the large ward made her feel lonely, but she was incredibly grateful for the time with them nonetheless. But now she was alone with her thoughts, and her stomach began to roll over as she began to wonder about what the next day had in store for her. She almost wished someone had thought to bring her some homework to do.

She rolled onto her side, readying herself to try and get some much-needed rest, listening to Madam Pomfrey fuss over the boy that was gurgling out his replies to her questions as body fluids continued to pour out of his face. She wondered if Draco had done it to him, as the cruel hex very much seemed like something he would inflict on someone, but then she realized that he probably wasn't capable of such a spell yet. It gave her a bit of comfort. Still, she couldn't help but worry over her younger cousin's future, having just had such an unpleasant interaction with Lucius that day. It was devastating, learning what he had done to Andromeda and Ted, and yet it made her feel like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner. And Tonks, what would she do if she found out? Surely, she'd do something rash, perhaps lash out, jeopardize her future as an Auror after cursing the Malfoys, Cassie couldn't let that happen...

No, she couldn't worry about all that now. She had to sleep. Tomorrow was a big day, she had to have her wits about her. She had the Ministry breathing down her neck. But would she be able to sleep, with all these thoughts in her head? Surely not.

Now, she found herself wishing Snape was in the cramped hospital bed with her once again, the two of them sharing the tiny space, his arm wrapped around her protectively. The simple gesture made her feel incredibly safe and cherished, something that was hard to come by as of late. It was odd to think that now she knew what his scent was like when she had her face pressed up against his chest, the luxurious feeling of his robes on her cheek as his chest moved with each breath.

Cassie wondered what he was doing, rather than being with her right at that very moment. Perhaps he was supervising detention, or patrolling the halls, making sure nothing was amiss. Maybe he was in the Forbidden Forest, looking for clues of another unicorn being injured, putting himself in the path of whatever dangerous thing had injured the first one.

Great. Now, she was missing him, and worrying about him. That would help her get to sleep.

The nurse gave her a flask of Dreamless Sleep Potion after she was done dealing with her other patient, and after some meditation and extra effort to get a certain Potions Master out of her head, Cassie was finally able to drift off to a peaceful slumber. She woke up very early the next morning, and unable to get back to sleep, she started to put on a fresh set of uniforms and get her day started.

"Miss Black!" came Madam Pomfrey's hurried voice, and Cassie took a deep breath, knowing she should be nice to the uptight nurse. "What are you doing?"

"I was intending to go to breakfast," Cassie replied, giving her a small smile. "I'm feeling much better."

"No, no, you must stay here, until someone fetches you, dear."

"Why?"

"I have direct instructions, Miss Black."

With no other explanation offered to her, Cassie found herself lying on her bed for the better part of an hour, staring at the ceiling as she waited for the next step. Breakfast was brought to her, and then finally, her escorts came in the form of McGonagall and Snape. Familiar butterflies began to dance in her belly when she saw her head of house, and she had to force herself to keep from grinning ear to ear, even with the anticipation of what was to come.

"Good morning, Miss Black," McGonagall said, giving her a small nod.

"Good morning, Professor McGonagall," Cassie said, and then she turned to Snape. "Good morning, Professor Snape."

"Miss Black." His expression seemed troubled, and for the first time that morning, she felt incredibly anxious.

"Professor Snape and I will be taking you to entrance gates, where Arthur Weasley will be waiting with a Portkey," Professor McGonagall started to explain. Cassie, who was still trying to figure out the grim look on Snape's face, had to make a conscious effort to pull her attention away from him so she could pay attention to what the Head of Gryffindor was saying. "You, Mr. Weasley, and I will take the Portkey to London, where we will use the visitor's entrance to go into the Ministry, and then we shall meet Mr. Malfoy once we are inside."

"My uncle couldn't be bothered to traipse through Hogsmeade, eh?" Cassie asked, scoffing, not at all surprised that Lucius considered the small wizarding village beneath him. McGonagall and Snape exchanged glances. "What?" she asked, wondering why they were acting so strange.

"Miss Black, I feel we should inform you," McGonagall started slowly, and she had an apologetic tone to her voice. "When we get to the entrance gate, it is likely that there will be a crowd."

Cassie looked between the two professors, not quite understanding what the Deputy Headmistress was getting at. "A crowd?" Neither one spoke for a moment, and then Cassie looked pointedly at Snape, waiting for more explanation.

"A mob," he said bluntly, and McGonagall clicked her tongue in disapproval.

"Excuse me?" Cassie asked.

"I'm sorry, Cassie. But apparently, it was all over the Daily Prophet, and now people are concerned over the safety of the students - " McGonagall started.

"The students?" Cassie spat. "First some idiots are worried I'm going to attack Harry Potter, and now it's all the freaking students that I'm going to harm?"

"You have to understand, Cassie, that once it's in the Prophet - "

"I don't have to understand anything!" Cassie said, and she stormed past the two of them. "Let's just get on with it!"

She walked through the corridor at a hurried pace, and although she was appreciative to have McGonagall's support, at that time she wished it had just been herself and Snape as they made their way towards the entrance hall so she could speak her mind. But that wasn't the case, so she walked in strained silence, wishing more than anything that she could take his hand, even link her pinky finger with his, just so she could receive some physical form of comfort from him before they were separated for the day.

The thought came into her mind that there was always the possibility that she'd be thrown into Azkaban today. It made her want to turn around, jump into his arms, cover him with kisses. But that would get him sacked, and she was confident that Dumbledore wouldn't let her get put away. So she restrained herself.

Once they neared the entrance hall, Cassie noticed eyes on her, kids stopping mid-conversation to stop and stare as the trio moved past. She tried her best to ignore them and kept moving at a steady pace. She breathed a bit easier once they were outside, as there were only a few students out there, but once they neared the gates, she began to hear the murmurs of a waiting crowd. She stopped walking, not ready to come into view of them just yet.

"What if someone attacks?" Cassie asked her professors quietly.

"Aurors are present," Snape replied, and the severity of the situation hit Cassie then. This wasn't just ridiculous now; it was dangerous. He seemed to sense here sudden apprehension, and placed his hands on her shoulders, giving them a reassuring squeeze. "I'm sorry I can't come with you," he said quietly.

"I'll be fine," Cassie said, resisting the urge to place her hand over his, to turn around and wrap her arms around his torso. "I'm in good hands." She was putting on a brave face, saying what he wanted to hear, because more than anything, she wanted him to be there with her.

"We should go," McGonagall said quietly. "In case there are delays."

Cassie and McGonagall started forward, leaving the Potions Master behind, and Cassie turned to look at him one last time, giving him a nervous smile before turning to face the waiting horde. He looked unsure, an expression that Cassie rarely saw on him, making her feel uneasy herself.

The two witches finally came upon the magnificent wrought iron gates, a sight that Cassie usually welcomed, and was greeted by numerous wizards and witches with angry faces. Shouting instantly erupted, and Aurors and Ministry workers that had been stationed in front of the gates began to use their wands to put up barriers, keeping anyone from getting too close to where Arthur stood, a single crinkled soda can in his hand. He gestured for them to come to him quickly, and McGonagall started to open the gates, encouraging Cassie to sneak through the opening as soon as she could fit.

"My son is in there!" a woman screeched, and one man yelled, "Take her out of Hogwarts, or I'll take my kids home today!"

"Save Harry Potter!"

"The Dark Lord will rise through her!"

Cassie tried her best not to hear any more specific words being said, but she couldn't help it. It was incredibly aggravating, and as soon as she got through the gate, she locked eyes with Arthur.

"Here we are, dear," he said, and McGonagall stood next to her and put her arm around her as soon as she got the gates closed again.

"And on the count of three - " Arthur said, "One, two, three!"

Just as he said three and they touched the can, a loud explosion had erupted and a lot of screaming had started; they were pulled by the Portkey just as it had started. Luckily, they had made it to their destination without being harmed, and the red telephone box was right in view once they had caught their footing. Cassie recognized it instantly, having been to the Ministry many times over the years with Lucius and Arthur.

"What happened?" Cassie asked breathlessly.

"I'm sure someone wanted to stop us from arriving," Arthur said, shaking his head. "No worries, they were expecting that sort of thing, I'm sure. Now let's get inside before there's another gathering," he said, ushering her towards the guest entrance. How the Ministry had kept a mob from forming there, Cassie wasn't sure, but she was more than grateful to complete this part of the trip without an audience.

They descended into the atrium of the Ministry, and the familiar colors of the dark wood floors and light blue ceiling that surrounded Cassie were little comfort as they made their way to the security desk. In previous visits to the large establishment, she was used to witches and wizards bustling about and going about their business without paying much attention to her. But today, many were stopping to get a good look at her as if she were on display.

"Don't pay any attention, Cassie," McGonagall muttered to her as one witch was standing right in front of them, her mouth agape as she stood with a large stack of parchment in her hands.

"Right," Cassie replied. She had to push her way past, and the witch let out a tiny whimper, nearly dropping everything that was in her arms.

"You are causing quite the commotion here," came the lazy drawl of Lucius Malfoy, and Cassie had to keep from groaning in disgust.

"Hello, Uncle," she said, taking her wand back from Eric the security wizard.

"Niece," he said, nodding once. "Weasley, your services are no longer needed here. But I hear there's some Muggle vomit receptacle that needs your attention, so you'd better see to that instead."

"Malfoy, I'm seeing her to the courtroom, and there's nothing you're going to say that's going to make me do anything else," Arthur said evenly, taking a deep breath.

"Weasley, the goal of today is to make her look good in front of the Wizengamot, not associate her with a family of poverty-stricken, unwashed ginger - " Lucius started, but he stopped speaking when McGonagall stepped forward, sticking her pointer finger in the blond wizard's face.

"You. Will. Stop. Now!" she said, her voice quiet, but incredibly audible as she scolded the grown wizard. "Or I will drag you by the ear to the hearing, kicking and screaming, do you hear me, Lucius Malfoy?"

"Yes, Professor McGonagall," Malfoy said, seemingly reverting to his Hogwarts years in an instant as he replied, and Cassie bit back a laugh.

They made their way to the courtroom without another word, and when they were outside the doors, Lucius finally spoke again, clearing his throat before he spoke.

"You are in a favorable position," he said to Cassie, and she nodded, feeling her breakfast rising in her stomach as she took a deep breath. "I have talked the Minister into considering this as a 'meeting' rather than a hearing or trial. The Wizengamot is using today to determine whether or not a trial is warranted in the near future. Fudge is taking into account that Minister Bagnold had a favorable opinion of you when she left office, and of course, you have myself, and uh - " he cleared his throat again, "Weasley, speaking highly of you."

"And there's Headmaster Dumbledore and all of the other professors, of course," McGonagall reassured Cassie.

"Okay," said Cassie, but she, in fact, did not feel okay.

"You will not speak unless spoken to," Lucius reminded her.

"Yes, Uncle."

"You will remain poised, and polite, and act like the proper witch you were raised to be, although we know that's now how you turned out - "

"Malfoy!"

"I digress."

But her uncle's insult didn't register. Cassie was feeling panic-stricken. It was time to enter the courtroom. Arthur was muttering something kind and encouraging, giving her a tight hug and saying he wished he was allowed to go in there with her, and she plastered a fake smile on her face, trying to make the worried look on his face go away, and then McGonagall was steering her to where she needed to go.

It was into the dungeon courtroom, to sit in a chair with chains covering the armrests, poised to restrain her without a moment's hesitation if need be. Of course, she shouldn't have been so worked up, and she was silently scolding herself; she had been in the very same chair during her second year. Minister Millecent Bagnold had requested a hearing after she had been taken from Hogwarts by a group of Death Eaters in training and offered their loyalty. She had been rescued by Dumbledore and a few of the other professors, but at the time, none of them had been quite sure of her loyalties. Bagnold, however, had been fair and kind.

Cassie had only interacted with Fudge a few times since he had become Minister a year ago, but he had always struck her as skittish and insecure. Of course, knowing that he listened to Lucius with so much certainty made her assume he was incredibly stupid as well. But for today, listening to Lucius might work in her favor.

"Cassiopeia Elladora Black," came the voice of Cornelius Fudge from somewhere in the benches high above her, and Cassie looked up to see the figures dressed in plum robes. "Are you ready?"

"Yes, Minister Fudge," she said, her voice not sounding confident at all, and she hoped they could hear her.

"Good. Who do you have with you?"

"My uncle, Lucius Malfoy," she replied, this time, finding more of her voice. "And Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall." She found herself looking around the room a bit, finding the stern faces of the Wizengamot a bit intimidating, and then in a bench further away from them saw a gnarled face with unkempt, long hair and a swiveling, unnatural eye that was moving quickly about the room, and then next to him was a young witch with bright green hair -

Cassie had to clap her hands over her mouth to stifle herself because she almost yelped in surprise; it was Tonks!

"Miss Black, is something the matter?" one of the uptight witches in plum robes said, sounding rather perturbed, and Cassie shook her head quickly. Tonks smiled widely, giving a small wave, and suddenly the magical eye of the wizard seated next to Tonks pivoted towards her.

"No, no ma'am," Cassie said. "Just nerves is all." Having her cousin there made her feel giddy, although it wasn't making her feel any less on edge at the moment.

"Alright then," the witch said, looking over at the minister, and they exchanged glances. Not good.

"Let's proceed," Fudge said. "The reason we are here, Miss Black, is because there are four people hospitalized at St. Mungo's as a result of your actions, and I'd like to get to the bottom of it at once." Cassie heard McGonagall snort loudly, but didn't say anything. "Now, the day of the incident, you were in Hogsmeade, is that correct?"

"Yes, Minister."

"And what was your purpose in the village that day?"

"My - my purpose?" she said, caught off guard at the question.

"Yes, girl. What were your intentions that day?"

"I, uh, I guess I didn't have any," she said, not sure what she was supposed to say. The scribe next to the minister was scribbling away furiously, and Cassie was feeling more and more nervous. "I mean, I just went there to pass the time, you know?"

"Pass the time until what?"

"Pardon me?"

She saw Fudge exchange glances with a member of his council again. Cassie swallowed hard.

"I just needed a break from studying, I suppose. I don't know, why else do students go to Hogsmeade?"

"I don't know, Miss Black, as I am asking you."

Not a trial, my ass, she thought to herself. Thankfully, the Minister moved on.

"And who did you attend with?"

"Theodore Quartermaine."

"And what is your relationship with the young man?"

"We tutor together."

"You tutor?"

"Yes, Monday and Wednesday evenings."

"What kinds of things do you tutor?"

"Whatever the younger students bring to me," she said, and the Wizengamot members started to whisper among each other. Cassie looked to McGonagall, who shrugged slightly.

"Miss Black," said one wizard with a short goatee after a few minutes. "You say, in your own words, whatever they bring you. So does that mean, if a young student has a question about the Dark Arts, that you teach them about said magic?"

Cassie's mouth fell open. "I - what?"

"Miss Black, you said," the same wizard started again, but McGonagall was losing her patience.

"Now, see here, that is such an inappropriate, bizarre question, I don't even know where to begin!" she said shrilly, standing up from the chair she had been seated in.

"Mistress McGonagall, sit down - "

"That's Deputy Headmistress, and I will sit down when I damn well please!" McGonagall remained standing. "This is not a trial, and I will not tolerate such idiotic questions again! We are here to find out what happened when I found my student bleeding out after she was ambushed, not what homework she helps younger students with! So get on with it!"

McGonagall sat down after that, and Cassie couldn't help but smile at her then. Lucius was pursing his lips together so hard that they were almost turning blue.

"Alright," Fudge said, sounding rather deflated. "Miss Black, what happened that day in Hogsmeade?"

The room went silent then. Cassie looked to Tonks for a last bit of courage, hoping that she could convince the Ministry that she was innocent in all of this, and her cousin was no longer beaming but looked rather earnest. The older wizard next to her still had his eyes locked on her, obviously just as interested to hear what she had to say.

So she took a deep breath, and recounted the story, about how she and Theodore were about to head back to Hogwarts, and then the four attackers appeared and said they couldn't let her go back there.

"And how did the boy escape the scuffle?"

"I told him to get out of there, and they said they didn't an issue with him, and let him run," Cassie said.

"That seems unlikely, if they were such an aggressive group as you say they were," Fudge said. "It doesn't add up."

"It wasn't so much aggressive, as much as they were determined to do what they thought was right," Cassie replied quietly. "Apparently he wasn't the threat."

"So were they doing what was right, Miss Black?" Fudge asked.

"Excuse me?" she asked, and Lucius let out a low hiss. She heard him but ignored the warning to keep her cool.

"Is there a need to protect the Potter boy from you?"

"The audacity!" McGonagall started. "How dare you - "

"No, Deputy Headmistress, there's where you are wrong!" Fudge said haughtily. "You can defend her all you want, and tell me up and down what a grand student she's been all these years, but the fact is, she put four grown wizards in the hospital, and there were no witnesses to tell me that it was warranted! Who's to say that she didn't just attack them out of pure boredom, hmm? Because she can?"

"Minister Fudge, I assure you, my niece is not dangerous, I raised her myself ever since her mother went to Azkaban," Lucius said, now choosing to stand alongside McGonagall. The mention of Bellatrix got the other members of the council talking to one another, and the extra noise along with Lucius and Fudge now arguing was overstimulating to Cassie. The entire situation, made her want to scream 'screw you' to all of them and leave, and really she could and there was nothing any of them could do, but then she really would be in trouble, so she stayed in the chair that threatened to chain her down at any moment.

"You guarantee me, Lucius!" Fudge was suddenly yelling, "You guarantee me, that one day she doesn't wake up and decide wants to follow in her father's footsteps, and then you can say that to me - "

Cassie could hear McGonagall yelling obscenities next to her, but the arguing around her was getting so loud she couldn't pick out individual sentences; her anger began to build, and she felt the ground underneath her rumble, and she knew she was the cause. The others were so heated in their arguments that they didn't even notice that the room was about to be destroyed if she didn't get her emotions in check.

While she slowly scanned the room for a source of calm, she locked eyes with the older, scarred wizard that was seated next to Tonks. At first, his appearance had shocked her, but now, he was the only peaceful force in the room for her.

She closed her eyes, inhaled deeply, let it out over a few seconds. Using the skills that she had practiced with Snape, she blocked out the noises around her, and with it, the stress that was aggravating her. The vibrations stopped, and only when she knew she could safely deal with the chaos that was going on in the room, did she dare open her eyes again.

When she did, the arguing was still taking place. But the wizard was still watching her carefully, and when she looked at him again, he gave her a small nod and a small smile, seeming to give her his silent praise for getting her emotions in check. Tonks was looking between the two of them, confused as to what had just happened.

The wizard with the false, spinning eye suddenly stood, and bellowed, "Enough!"

The room silenced, and Cassie was awed at the respect he commanded.

"You want answers? If the girl is agreeable, someone fetch a Pensieve, and we'll get to the bottom of it in a matter of minutes," he continued. He looked right at Cassie as if hers was the only permission needed for this plan, and she nodded enthusiastically. Two scribes immediately left to fetch what was needed, and Fudge sat with his arms folded across his chest like an angry toddler.

"Who is that?" Cassie whispered.

"Alastor Moody," McGonagall answered, and Cassie gasped.

"No!" She felt stupid for not figuring it out sooner. "So that means Tonks is learning from him? That's amazing!" She gave a thumbs up to her cousin, who returned it immediately. She hoped she would have a chance to talk to her when it was all said it done; she missed her terribly.

After the Pensieve was brought to the courtroom and Cassie voluntarily allowed her memories of the Hogsmeade attack to be placed in it, Moody, Fudge, and Amelia Bones all went into the memory together. As the experienced Auror said, the conclusion to what had happened was over in a matter of minutes, as it was hard to contest what happened when they could see it happen right before their very eyes. Cassie was a bit worried that Fudge would come back with accusing her of using excessive force, but he was rather tight-lipped after coming out of the memory, choosing instead to only mutter apologies and dismiss everyone rather quickly as soon as the three of them came out of it.

"That's it?" Cassie asked as the members of the Wizengamot started to disperse. "We're free to go?"

"Yes," Lucius said curtly, leaving without another word, obviously not wanting to be in the same room as a notorious Auror.

Cassie turned to see if Tonks was still in the room and let out a yelp of surprise when her cousin nearly knocked her off her feet, having just tackled her with a hug.

"Cass!" she cried. "I'm so happy for you!"

"Thanks for being here, you have no idea how much that means, Dora!" Cassie said, feeling tears form in her eyes. When they pulled out of the hug, Cassie felt a few fall down her face, and her cousin immediately went to wipe a few away.

"Oh, don't, Cass, or you'll make me cry, you will!" Tonks said.

"Don't mean to interrupt this little reunion," came Moody's gruff voice, and Cassie turned to shake his hand.

"Thank you, Mr. Moody, sir, so much, you saved my ass today!" she said.

"Yeah well," he said, and his magical eye was whirring about in every direction once again. "Better to keep you out of Azkaban, and let you finish your year at Hogwarts. You'd make a fine Auror, from what I saw in that Pensieve today."

McGonagall had walked up to them then, and placed her arm around Cassie's shoulders. "Yes, she will make an excellent one. The Ministry will be damn lucky to have her."

"That's as long as Fudge stops being afraid of her," Moody said rather ominously, and Cassie suddenly felt a bit forlorn.

"You mean, he can keep me from becoming one?"

"Oh, yes," Moody answered.

"Now, he'd be a fool to do anything of the sort!" McGonagall said earnestly. "You saw her in the Pensieve today, Alastor, she'd even be able to beat your record of catching dark wizards, and that's saying something!"

Moody was shaking his head. "Doesn't matter, Minerva. Minister is in charge." Tonks had grabbed Cassie's hand now and was giving her a firm squeeze, trying to make her feel better. "You heard me, girl. Keep your nose clean."

"What am I supposed to do? Let them kill me next time?"

"You know what I'm saying, kid. Keep that temper of yours in check. Good thing someone in your life already taught you some control or this whole room would have come tumbling down around us, eh?" Moody said, and McGonagall looked at him in surprise. Cassie's mind immediately went to Snape and her lessons with him.

"Yeah, you're right," she said.

"Keep up with 'em," Moody said. "And next time, when they try to kill you, dispatch 'em, do it calmly, and Fudge will have no reason to fear you."

Those were his parting words. Cassie had hoped that she would have more time with Tonks, but apparently, they had taken enough time off from their training for her meeting and had to get back at it. Arthur congratulated her enthusiastically, but briefly, as he had to get back to work, and then Cassie and McGonagall were headed back to Hogwarts. For safety, they were granted temporary access to use the Floo Network to go back to Hogwarts and were able to travel right back into McGonagall's office and avoid angry mobs and explosions altogether.

"Don't bother with classes or tutoring today," McGonagall said, immediately sitting down behind her desk. "If Severus won't write you an excuse note, I will."

"I don't think he'll have a problem with it," Cassie replied quietly.

"Are you alright, Cassie?"

"Yeah," she lied.

"Is it what Moody said?"

"Yes, and...I mean, it's everything. The Auror training, and Fudge, and the fact that there will be a 'next time' that someone tries to kill me."

"Well, Moody is rather pessimistic."

"Or maybe just realistic," Cassie said. "I mean, if everyone hates me, what's the point of being an Auror? Isn't that counterproductive?"

"Not everyone."

"Okay, the vast majority."

McGonagall was silent for a few moments, studying her. "It always saddened me, Cassie, that you felt the need to stifle your abilities, because of public perception. Like when I wanted you to start training to be an Animagus, and you didn't want to because you thought everyone would start assuming you were responsible for a disaster every time a dog was was spotted - "

"Because you know that's what would happen!"

"I'm not arguing that. I just wish you would do it anyway, everyone else be damned. Realize your true potential. Do what good you can behind the scenes, even if people are afraid of you. You can still be an Auror, even if people are afraid of the idea."

"Not if Fudge won't let me," Cassie said. "Anyway, thank you for everything, Professor, but I'm very tired - "

"Say no more. You can go."

Cassie made her way to the dungeons, intending to go to her dorm to rest, as she was exhausted. But somehow, she found herself going to the Potions classroom instead. She couldn't remember what Snape had on his schedule for Monday, and honestly she barely even knew what time it was right then. But she was happy to see that it was empty, and she went in, walking through it, and then went straight into Snape's office. He was nowhere to be seen, so she sat down at his desk. She didn't care if he'd be mad that she was sitting there. Even if all he did was yell at her, she'd be happy for that interaction.

She didn't know how long she was there because she fell asleep with her head on his desk. He woke her up by gently shaking her shoulder.

"Hey," she said, running a hand through her black locks, wiping her mouth in case she had been drooling. "Sorry, I didn't mean to sleep on your desk."

"That's the least of my worries," he said, and she smiled up at him. "How did it go?"

"Well," she said, standing up and straightening out her robes. "I'm not in Azkaban, so that's a start."

"Yes, I suppose so," he said.

"McGonagall is a beast," Cassie said. "You should have seen her put Fudge in his place. And Mad-Eye Moody, he's really a bad ass! I think I would have been screwed without him. He suggested that they put my memory of it in the Pensieve, and after that they didn't have much to say. And I got to see Tonks for a bit, so that was great."

Snape wasn't saying much, but was nodding. Cassie was watching him carefully but wasn't able to get a read on his mood. All she knew was that he was acting a bit odd, just standing by the door of his office and looking at her.

"So, how was your day, Severus?"

"What?"

"You're acting weird."

"Oh, shut up," he snapped, and then he left the room. Cassie raised an eyebrow and was about to follow him, when he strode back in, his arms full of stuff; he had two large bouquets of flowers, some letters, and a package wrapped in brown paper. "This all came for you."

"Oh," Cassie said as he set it all on his desk. The package was from the Weasleys, all scrumptious-looking baked goods along with a card. There was a bouquet of flowers and a card from Andromeda and Ted, which was incredibly sweet. And then Cassie discovered why Snape was acting so strangely. The second, and bigger of the two bouquets, was labeled from Charlie. He must have seen it.

Cassie set Charlie's flowers down, then shoved them aside. "They're daisies, not my favorite - " she started to say, but she was interrupted. Snape suddenly slammed his office door shut with a flick of his wand and locked it, taking the time to stuff his wand back into his pocket as came around the desk to join her. She squeaked in surprise as he grabbed her face in his hands, his lips crashing into hers forcefully. He nearly knocked her off balance as he pushed her backward into his desk, careful not to break the passionate kiss once.



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