|ellid (ellid) wrote in lupin_snape,|
@ 2011-01-21 08:00:00
|Entry tags:||project: a decade of ssrl|
Fic post: "The Tichborne Claimant," part 4
Title: The Tichborne Claimant, 4/12
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. Part Three can be found here
Hengewood House was quiet the next morning, its splendid gardens glittering slightly in the dew. Neville and Hermione had transformed Augusta's gloomy mausoleum into a showcase for art, herbology, and learning, not to mention a laboratory for efforts to improve the lot of house elves. Even Severus, as much as he disliked the elves, had to admit that the Elf Manumission Collective had made great strides in improving the treatment of elves throughout Britain and the European Union.
Remus breathed deep of the scent of night-blooming flowers and herbs. He was surprisingly limber considering how vigorous, almost desperate Severus had been in the library, and how reluctant he had been to return to their bed afterwards. It would have been worth it regardless; Severus normally was content to let Remus take the lead in bed, but strong emotion always drove him to dominate. It would have been worse if he had been passive or quiet, not desperate for sex on a carpet that should have been binned years ago.
We still work well together, he thought as they walked up the drive, the gravel crunching slightly under their feet. Thank God.
Severus shifted restlessly beside him, scowling up at the door as he clutched the box and scrapbook to his chest. The silver at his temples was usually hidden by the black, but today the sunlight caught it at exactly the right angle to remind Remus that they were no longer young. "You do realize that they might be having a lie-in. It's - "
"Neville works with plants, love. He's likely been up since dawn," Remus murmured, placing a hand between his shoulder blades. "Putting it off won't make it any easier."
Severus grunted. "Have you owled Nymphadora yet?"
"I sent her a floo post. Egypta wouldn't reach London until sometime this evening." Remus let his fingers trail up to the nape of Severus' neck, lightly tracing the one love bite he'd managed to leave just before Severus had stopped him with a long, thorough kiss. "I also wrote to Young Jarndyce about access to the Chancery records. That's where it started, after all."
"I suppose." Severus paused, flushing slightly. "About the wine - "
"We'll have fish tonight. It won't go to waste."
The door opened on its own before either could knock. Hermione, hair under control for once, glanced over her shoulder and drew them inside. "Come on in. We're just finishing breakfast - have you eaten? You're certain? We have plenty."
Remus shook his head. "It's all right, Hermione. We had something before we left the house." He automatically lowered his voice at the sound of childish squeals coming from somewhere in the huge old house. "Does he know we're coming?"
"I said you'd be by sometime today, nothing more. Right now he's having too much fun with Frank and Janie." She beckoned them into the library and waved at the door, which obediently shut behind them. "What's happened? Johnny still doesn't know why he's here, Severus."
Severus handed Remus the box and the scrapbook and reached into his breast pocket for the letter from the synagogue. Hermione read it over, frowning slightly, and moved to the window for better light. "I don't see why this is - oh. Oh."
"That's right." Severus grasped the back of a chair. "I assume you've known all about this since you dug up my mother's wedding announcement? Perhaps Binns was able to dig up the original trial transcripts for your NEWTS project."
Hermione ignored the dig. "She's American, isn't she? That would explain why she thought it was a good idea to explore one's heritage." She glanced at what was in Remus' arms.
"We thought he might want to start with these," said Remus, carefully placing his burden on the polished library table while Severus worried his lower lip. "It's not the complete record, of course, but those will have to wait for a few days."
She waved her wand at the pile of books at the other end of the table. They obediently rose and reshelved themselves, leaving the entire work surface clear. "I can stay with him while he reads. I'm no expert on mid-century law, but - "
"He's my son," said Severus, voice loud and crisp enough that Hermione flinched despite herself. He flushed. "It's my responsibility."
"Our responsibility," corrected Remus. He waited for Severus' color to return to normal. "That's a lovely offer, Hermione, but it will be better if we're here to answer any questions."
"Of course," she said. A murmur summoned one of the trainee elves with a pitcher of water, several note pads, and a selection of pens ranging from Muggle biros to newly cut quills and an inkwell. "I'll go get him."
Severus moved to the window and stared out at the perfectly trimmed lawn as Hermione quietly exited. Remus folded his arms as he waited for him to speak.
"Damn that woman," Severus said through his teeth. It was obvious he did not mean Hermione. "He's not old enough to - "
The door opened before Remus could point out that Johnny had been younger when they had had to tell him the truth about his grandmother. "Papa? You're home? I missed you!"
"I missed you too!" Remus laughed as his son threw himself into his arm for an enthusiastic hug. "Tante Celeste sent you madeleines and a book on Montaillou. You'll have to thank her - "
"I know, Papa." Johnny heaved an exaggerated sigh. "I'll write her as soon as we get home."
Remus ruffled his hair, not surprised when the boy pulled free with a smirk that looked remarkably like Severus in one of his moods. Puberty was already wreaking havoc on his little boy even though his voice hadn't broken. "Of course you will."
Severus quietly came up beside them. "Good morning, son."
Johnny's eyes widened. "Morning, Dad." He hesitantly gave his second father a hug, relaxing only when Severus gave him a firm pat between the shoulder blades.
Severus held him a moment longer than was strictly necessary, then stepped back and consciously unclenched his jaw. "I see they've fed you," he said, pointing at the faint smear of oatmeal on the Ravenclaw quidditch t-shirt he'd inherited from one of the older Chasers.
"Yeah. One of the new elves is from a B&B near Roxburgh." Johnny grinned. "It was great."
"I'm sure it was." Severus caught Remus' eye and lifted his chin a fraction. Remus raised an eyebrow and joined Hermione by the door.
"On second thought, I think I could do with a cup of tea and some of that oatmeal, if there's any left," he said, smiling and reaching for the handle.
Hermione had not been called the cleverest witch in Britain for nothing. "Of course. Severus? Johnny? We'll be right back," she said, tucking her hand through Remus' elbow.
"Right," said Severus, nodding distractedly as he led Johnny toward the box and the scrapbooks. The boy's eyes had widened at the sight, and now he was taking a deep, obvious sniff to fix the scent of crumbling paper and old ink in his memory. "We'll be fine here."
"I'm sure you will," murmured Remus as Hermione opened the door to the hallway.