|ellid (ellid) wrote in lupin_snape,|
@ 2010-12-31 10:34:00
|Entry tags:||project: a decade of ssrl|
Year of Snupin fic post: The Tichborne Claimant, #3
Title: The Tichborne Claimant, 3/12
Warnings for domestic abuse, anti-Semitism
Summary: Johnny Lupin-Snape is getting ready for his bar mitzvah, and the rabbi has asked him to look into his family. Little does he know what this means to his fathers.
Notes: This is a sequel to Motherless Child, wherein Snape and Lupin marry and adopt an orphaned werewolf. Johnny, their son, is about 12 in this story, and digging up family secrets that Severus would much prefer to have buried. I will post one installment each month between now and October 2011 in honor of the 10th anniversary of the 'ship.
For the curious, here is the source of the title.
Part One can be found here. Part Two can be found here.
The house was quiet when he woke, just past two in the morning. He lay awake for a few moments, taking in the usual night sounds - the salamander moving lazily about the banked logs in the fireplace, night birds calling in the yard, Remus breathing softly beside him - before carefully sitting up. He was still somewhat muzzy from drink, but if he didn't find the papers now, it would take twice the nerve to do so in the morning.
He pulled his dressing gown from its usual peg by the door and wrapped it about himself against the evening chill. Remus stirred in his sleep but did not wake as he slipped out of the bedroom and padded down the hall to the smallest bedroom. It was the only room that had been charmed to expand as necessary by the builders, which meant that what had begun as Remus' study was also the library, storage room, and occasional guest room when Potter had yet another fight with his wife.
Severus took a deep breath of book-scented air as he entered the room. The overstuffed shelves seemed to lean forward slightly in the dim light from the leaded glass of the window, giving the unsettling impression that the entire room was about to collapse on his head. He sniffed, raked his hair back over his shoulder, and padded over to the wardrobe Remus used to store parchment, ink, quills, and financial records.
The scrapbook was there, just where he'd placed it fifteen years earlier. Severus carefully set it on the desk. Their respective Orders of Merlin gleamed faintly as he shifted them aside and drew out a small cardboard box. A single word enlarged it enough that he had to work a bit to remove it without knocking over two spare bottles of ink and a sand shaker.
The box was too big for the cluttered desk. Severus placed it on the floor and murmured lumos. He considered his options, then eased himself onto the worn Bokhara that had originally been in Remus' old flat in London. The scrapbook floated down next to him at a flick of his finger. He hadn't looked at it in years, and it was a not unpleasant surprise to see just how much of the family history his grandfather had managed to salvage from the wreckage of war and persecution.
The contents of the box were another matter.
He stared at the dusty cardboard for longer than he should, then cut the ancient string that held it shut. Two more scrapbooks and a leather correspondence case emerged, plus a thick bundle of old letters tied with faded silk ribbon. He recognized the letterhead of the family solicitor - of course Old Jarndyce was involved, he'd been the solicitor of choice for pureblood families since Victoria was a girl - and the name of a once-prominent Healer who sold concoctions guaranteed to produce a child of the desired sex.
Severus could not help snorting. Why had his father wasted his allowance to get what any qualified apothecary could have mixed for a fraction the cost? Or the potions master at Hogwarts (Slughorn? Or old Dullworthy?)? Was he that confident of winning his lawsuit? Or that stupid?
Or was it because he was a Muggle pretending to be a Wizard and didn't know the difference?.
"Severus? What are you doing up?" Remus, dressing gown open, shuffled into the room. He was a bit stiffer upon first waking now thanks to arthritis in his knees and ankles, and tromping about Carcassonne with a bunch of Muggle tourists could not have helped. "What's - oh. Oh."
Severus made a face as he gingerly lowered himself to the carpet. "You shouldn't be sitting on the floor, at least until you've taken a pain potion."
"I know that." Remus opened the first scrapbook before Severus could object. "Is this what I think it is?"
"What else? Mum's foster mother started assembling the records when she realized that my father was a liar and a fraud. Mum kept working on it after Mrs. Prince died, God knows why." He paused until he could speak in a semi-normal tone. "I've always been amazed that my father didn't destroy the whole mess. It was bad enough that he had to make up an entire history for his family. If one of them had actually found the Wizarding records - "
Remus shook his head. "'If wishes were fishes,' love." He held the scrapbook out at arm's length and read the first page. "Strike Disrupts Owl Post! Complaints Pour Into Ministry! Minister Calls for Calm - disruptions to owl post? What does that have to do with anything?"
"Think about it," Severus said. A slight headache was building behind his eyes. He tried to tell himself it was only the wine. "If the owl hadn't delivered the letter about the Snape inheritance to the wrong Snape, none of it would have happened. My father would have stayed in Halifax and married another Muggle. My mother would likely have married a Wizard and never met him. I'd be a pureblood and - "
"And wouldn't have met Lily, or protected Harry, or given me a second glance." Remus gripped his shoulder hard enough to be uncomfortable. Severus glared at him through his hair, then dropped his gaze to the carpet.
"That doesn't make my childhood any more pleasant, you know," Severus said at last.
"I know," said Remus. He released Severus' shoulder and lightly touched the scrapbook. "You shouldn't sort this alone. What do I need to do?"
Severus forced down the urge to tell Remus to bin the lot, or use it for garden mulch. John was bright enough to suss out the bare bones for himself, and he would never forgive either of them if the family history mysteriously disappeared. "The Chancery records were never properly arranged. If you could do that - "
"What about the MLE? Wasn't your father eventually arrested?"
Severus shook his head. "I'm not sure. Potter or Nymphadora would know."
"I'll owl Dora in the morning. Her husband works in the MLE's archives." Remus narrowed his eyes, then leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the mouth. Severus froze, then pulled him close and kissed back harder than was necessary.
"Severus - "
"We can sort this lot out in the morning." His hand shook as he ran it through hair that was more gray than brown. "I - "
Remus smiled and let himself be eased back onto the carpet. Severus cast a cushioning charm to receive them and untied his dressing gown as he lowered himself onto a body he knew better than his own. "Yes. Yes we can."