"Welcome back to another year," Dumbledore announced, earning a round of applause. Or at least, more applauses from Gryffindor than Slytherin. I managed a glance to see that Severus was sitting with some of his friends, looking very bored. His eyes caught mine and he slowly raised an eyebrow, a very small smirk making it's way onto his face.
I gave him a small smile before shaking my head and looking back up to the front while Dumbledore went over the usual rules once more.
"Cassie?" I turned my gaze to Remus and Sirius who were sitting across from me.
"What?" I whispered, trying to seem as if we weren't totally ignoring Professor Dumbledore.
"You and Severus have been together a lot lately," Sirius said, his eyebrows knitting together in anger. Remus also seemed tense as he looked at me in anger but his eyes said different. He wasn't mad; more so confused, sad and a bit…jealous?
"Actually, that is true," James piped up quietly from beside me.
I looked at him and groaned, slumping down a bit, "Not you, too."
"Honestly, mum, I don't like that idea. I mean, it's bad enough that we're supposed to get our marks soon and everyone knows that he's practically the Dark Lord's servant as we speak," Sirius exclaimed. By the time he had finished, Dumbledore had also finished his speech and food had appeared all down the tables.
Immediately, the boys went to grab food but were right back to the conversation.
"Your brother is right, Cassie," James said, shoving some chicken into his mouth, "It's not a good idea to hang around with future Death Eaters, especially when your family is going to force you to get a mark, anyways."
"So you're basically saying that the more I hang around with Severus-" All four, Sirius, Peter, James and Remus cringed "-the more likely that I'll be persuaded to join?" I asked, my tone completely disbelieving. All four, as well as a few people surrounding us, stopped eating to stare at me. Even some of the teachers seemed interested in why our part of the table was silent.
"We never said that," Remus quickly said, his eyes now holding worry and fear. I took a deep breath, taking a sip from my goblet, attempting to calm myself down.
"Let's just drop this, alright?" I asked quietly, now starting to take small portions of food and place them on my plate. It's not that I was like every girl who never enjoyed eating; I just tended to eat a lot and portioned myself. Thanks being to my two brothers who enjoy nothing more than sleeping, eating and lazying around the house.
"We're just trying to watch out for you," Remus mumbled. I looked up at him to see his eyes bore into mine, holding a sort of pleading look.
"Drop it," I muttered, looking at each of them one last time before starting to eat. After that, the meal went along as normal. Peter managed to start up a conversation that instantly got all of them talking once more. I, on the other hand, just sat in silence, eating and thinking.
I, along with many of the Slytherin students, was positive in knowing that Severus was already on the path to becoming a Death Eater. And like many of the Slytherin students, I didn't care much that he was. Of course, I was worried that something would happen but it wasn't as if I was going to stand in his way and make him stop. He was my friend and the choices he made, I would respect and accept.
Dinner quickly ended, everyone ready to get to their beds and discuss what had happened over their holidays. I walked along, with the rest of the crowd until they began splitting up to head their separate ways to their respected houses.
"Cassandra?" I spun quickly, seeing Remus running up to me. He was alone, James, Sirius and Peter continuing on to the dorms.
"What Remus?" He stopped in front of me, taking a few quick breaths. That was one thing I had against the boys; I was naturally fit. I always enjoyed exercising and therefore was always fit and healthy. Even more so than Sirius and James and they were Quidditch nuts.
"I just wanted to apologize for earlier, about what we were all saying." I knew if I said anything, he would continue anyways so I kept quiet, crossing my arms across my chest. "We really meant no harm but…we are worried for you, Cassie. Hanging around with a Slytherin no less, it's not good for you."
"But think, Remus. If the hat hadn't sorted me into Gryffindor, I would've been in Slytherin. It's the family house."
"Why do you always say those kinds of things?" he asked, incredulously.
"What kinds of things?" I asked, now getting annoyed.
"You're always saying relating things to your family whom you hate. I just can't understand how you can be so willing to accept those things and still be in Gryffindor. And I really can't understand how you and Sirius can be related, no less twins," he exclaimed, mumbling the last sentence. My eyes immediately widened and I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my body that ached to punch him, square in the nose.
"What did you say?" I asked, gritting my teeth once I was finished speaking so that I wouldn't anything "unbecoming of a lady."
Obviously, Remus found what he said must've really didn't make my day and stared into my eyes with fear and doubt. "I'm sorry, Cassie. You know I didn't mean it that way."
"And how did you mean it?" I asked, stepping closer to him, my face contorted in anger now as I stared him down.
"I meant that…I mean, Sirius never talks about that kind of stuff and it's just weird to hear you talk like that."
"So just because we're twins means we can't have differences? We have to be exactly alike?!" The few students that were still passing by stopped to stare, the ones that were Slytherins with huge smirks on their faces. As a Gryffindor, I was still not on their best friend list but as a Gryffindor who was friends with Severus and who was constantly with him, I was more sociably accepted than the others.
"I didn't mean it like that."
"Remus," I stated quietly, my eyes looking down at the floor before quickly averting back up to him, "Stop." His mouth closed and he just stared at me. The Slytherins were beginning to snicker, the only sound in the now quiet hall.
I shook my head and turned from him, continuing my way away from the group. I luckily didn't have to push anyone, due to the fact that they simply just stepped aside, parting like the Red Sea. And then, the Slytherins burst out into laughter before Sirius began yelling for everyone to walk away if they weren't in the mood for a fight.
Stupid Remus. What was wrong with him? He had never behaved like this before. So why now was he behaving more like Sirius than ever? Mostly, whenever Sirius complained about my spending time with Severus, Remus would just hang back and later tell me that Sirius was just being overprotective and I didn't need to worry about anything. But now, he was acting just as bad as Sirius. Great…
"Cass." Someone tightly grabbed my wrist, holding it gently though, as they spun me around, my hazel eyes connecting with a pair of dark, almost black, ones. Luckily, we were now in a deserted hallway, which allowed me the chance to do a small break down, gripping on tightly to his shirt as my knees buckled.
"They're being completely unfair," I mumbled as his arms wrapped around my back, letting us gently to the ground. He pulled me over to the wall, setting me against it as he sat himself next to me.
I rubbed my eyes of the non-existent tears and sat back, staring down as my hands pulled my skirt hem down a little more. "During dinner, all they kept talking about was how my hanging around with you would influence me to become a Death Eater even more." He stayed silent, his hands resting in his lap as well. "And then, when Remus stopped me in the halls, he kept saying how he can't believe Sirius and I are twins when I think that if not Gryffindor, how I would be in Slytherin."
Now, a tear fell from my eyes but before I reached it, Severus touched it, stopping it.
"This is probably the only reason you're not in Slytherin, Cass." I looked up at him as he held his finger out, the one that still shone with my tear on it. "Your emotions are what tie you to Gryffindor. How you're able to stand up for your friends instead of mocking them like the rest of the crowd. How you're stubborn and bold instead of a follower with no spine." I continued to stare at his finger before looking up at him, his eyes. They stayed trained on my face, soft and at this moment, vulnerable.
"It's truth, Cassiopia." I cringed at my real name, backing away from Severus before he gently took my left hand, "But only to those who can truly see the real you."
My eyes immediately snapped up to Severus, my expression blank as I stared at him. His eyes were trained on my hand as he once again, pushed my sleeve up and began rubbing the area that would possibly soon be tattooed with the Dark Mark. I closed my eyes and fell into his chest, releasing a silent sob.
"What do I do?" I choked out.
"Whatever your heart tells you to. But as long as you're happy in the end." For the next ten minutes, we sat in silence as I took in everything Severus had said. He then escorted me back to the Gryffindor portrait hole, bid me a good night and then turned to head to the dungeons. Once inside, I noticed that a few of the older students were up, excluding Remus, Peter, Sirius and James, talking about their holidays a bit drunk, I may add. Ignoring them, I made my way up to my dorm to find my roommates were already fast asleep.
Quickly changing into my sleeping clothes, a green night gown that fell just past my knees, I crawled into bed, ready to fall asleep. A sudden pecking on one of the windows, though, stopped me. It turned out to be Severus' owl, once again, tapping gently against the glass.
I walked over and opened the window, grabbed the small parchment tied to it's leg, stroked it's head and then watched as it took off. Once closing the window, I pulled out my wand and let a small light erupt from the tip as I opened the paper, seeing Severus' handwriting scrawled onto it.
Remember what I told you tonight and have pleasant dreams. Be ready for Potions tomorrow, as well.
I smiled before folding up the parchment, sticking it into the drawer of my bedside table and letting the light from my wand fade so that the room was engulfed in darkness once more, the moon's glow bathing the floor. I then nestled down into my covers and closed my eyes, already knowing that my dreams would be pleasant. They always were if he wrote me before I slept.