|Severus Snape (ensnared_senses) wrote in snark_n_bark,|
@ 2009-07-09 19:21:00
|Entry tags:||complete, gaius, regulus, remus, serenus, severus, tybalt|
Characters: Severus, Remus, Serenus, Tybalt, Regulus, Gaius
Summary: Tybalt tries an unorthodox method of mending the rift with Severus.
When Remus had approached him, wanting to talk about Severus, Tybalt had been concerned, wondering if he had somehow managed to do something else to put his brother-in-law's prodigious nose out of joint. Things between Severus and Serenus had been slowly getting better, but Tybalt had noticed that Severus still kept him at more than arm's length, and it stung. He'd done everything he could to show Severus that he was sorry for not having invited Severus to the Gypsy ceremony, but nothing seemed to make the slightest difference. It seemed Tybalt was well and truly in the dog house, or perhaps even worse; at least Severus was willing to pet Winslow.
But fortunately, Remus wanted to talk to Tybalt about differences Severus had noted in himself, a certain wolfishness, as well as Severus' apparent feelings that Tybalt, alone of everyone in the family, wasn't showing the deference Severus seemed to want. At first, Tybalt had bristled, not much caring for the thought that Severus seemed to be blaming him for everything, but once he had calmed down and thought about it, it finally dawned on him exactly what was bothering Severus. While Tybalt couldn't much relate to the hierarchy among werewolves, he did know about the practices among his own people, and that put things into a context he was better able to understand.
Severus seemed to consider himself chief of their clan, in the way that a band of Gypsies had a chief, an elder who helped guide them, someone to help settle disputes, an ultimate authority to whom everyone deferred. It was necessary in a tribal culture to have a strong central leader in order to help a large and sometimes quarrelsome set of people coexist without killing one another. He didn't think their family needed someone in that role, since they all got along well enough for the most part, but apparently whatever changes Severus had gone through as part of his bond to Remus and his magical training as a Lupicinus had made Severus feel as if he were in the role already.
It wasn't much different, Tybalt thought, than Celestra being in charge of his family as he was growing up. He remembered that even his father had deferred to his grandmother, and his mother certainly did. Tybalt, as a boy, wouldn't have dared to defy her, and even now, as a grown man with his own home and family, he would be hard-pressed to go against anything that Celestra told him to do. It wasn't because he was afraid, nor because he didn't have a will and opinions of his own. It was simply the way of the world, and if Severus had decided he was the chief, patriarch, Alpha, or what have you of the family, Tybalt was willing to go along with it. He had no desire to be in such a position himself, and so long as Severus didn't do overboard and become some kind of tyrant, Tybalt didn't have a problem it.
The problem, of course, was in coming up with a way to show Severus that he was okay with it.
He thought on the issue for a few hours, then decided that since he had drawn his own parallels from his culture, he'd make his expression to Severus in the same fashion. Tybalt wasn't a werewolf, so anything he would do along those lines - like baring his throat - seemed to him as though it would appear fawning. But if Severus would accept a declaration of fealty done in the fashion Tybalt had grown up with, then perhaps they could move past the current situation and get back to the way things used to be.
It didn't take much for Tybalt to arrange what he needed. Then he waited until after the children had been put to bed and the adults were lounging in Serenus' sun-room, watching the fading pinks of the long summer twilight before he turned to Severus.
"Severus, may I speak to you for a moment, frankly and in front of everyone?" he asked quietly, his tone carefully not one of challenge, but one with a hint of deference.
Serenus gave Tybalt's knee a reassuring squeeze; Tybalt had told him of the plan, and he supported it. If anything was going to help Severus thaw toward Tybalt again, he hoped this might do it, and he watched, silent and hopeful.
Severus turned toward Tybalt at being addressed and regarded him with cool neutrality. "What is it?"
Drawing strength from Serenus' silent support, Tybalt drew a deep breath. He could see Remus watching him, his expression one of curiosity, while Gaius' eyes had suddenly widened as though he were alarmed. Regulus appeared more curious than alarmed, but there was a certain amount of apprehension in his expression. Perhaps Tybalt should have warned everyone before doing this, but the truth was that nothing anyone said would make much of a difference. This was between him and Severus, and it was better to get it out in the open than to let things fester for longer than they already had.
"Remus came to me earlier today, and he explained some things about your feelings, both about how you perceived yourself now in relation to the family and in particular how you seemed to feel about me," he said, still keeping his voice low and respectful, not letting any hint of nervousness show. "Since you seem to feel that I am, by my actions and my nature, some sort of challenge to your position as head of the family, I wish to make a show of fealty in order to show you that I willingly cede that position to you and have no desire to challenge you for it in the future."
Severus raised one eyebrow, surprised by the overture; he hadn't expected Remus to tell anyone else about the wolfishness, much less have anyone acknowledge the position he felt he occupied, since it was a side-effect of his own nature being affected by both bonding with a werewolf and being a Lupicinus - hardly a common state of affairs. Still, he did see Tybalt as the only real "threat" to his position, such as it was, so he thought perhaps he ought to let Tybalt do whatever it was he wanted to do. It might help, and it certainly couldn't hurt.
"I've been slighted one way or another on at least two occasions," he said at last. "If this show of fealty will help you remember to give me some consideration in future, then by all means, go ahead."
Serenus nodded, relieved by Severus' acquiescence. He knew if his prickly twin had no interest in mending fences with Tybalt at all, he would have brushed aside the idea altogether.
Tybalt lowered his head, acknowledging Severus' point. He had apologized and explained about things, but obviously Severus still had issues. Hopefully this would help to ease the tension and make Severus feel better.
"Thank you," he said quietly, then rose to his feet. "I am not a werewolf nor a Lupicinus, and it seemed that following anything along those lines would be wrong coming from me. But in my culture, we have our own ways of acknowledging leadership. Every Roma community is ruled by a chief, an elder we call our Rom Baro, which means 'Big Man'. He is chosen for his age, experience, and wisdom, and he inspires trust because of his strength and intelligence. In many ways, our family is like a small tribe of Gypsies; we are men of diverse talents and abilities, some of us bound by blood, some of us having married into the tribe. It makes sense for us to have a Rom Baro, and I acknowledge you as ours."
Going down to one knee, Tybalt removed a length of cord from his pocket, upon which were threaded several Roma coins, similar to those in Serenus' spousal necklace. There was also an ivory fang and a small symbol done in gold that Tybalt knew none of the others would recognize, it being a totem of his own family. He held out the cord toward Severus. "I bring you this offering to show my fealty, as I would to the leader of my tribe. The coins are the symbol of mutual prosperity, which I pledge to help earn for this family. The bear tooth is a symbol of strength - both the strength I pledge to you, and that which you are expected to show as leader. The last... that is the symbol of my family. As the eldest male of my line, I pledge to you not only my fealty, but that of my mother, my grandmother, my spouse, and my children. In return for that fealty, it is expected that you will show us the respect and concern that a good leader does for all of those under his protection."
Severus glanced questioningly at Serenus, since he had been mentioned in there, and Serenus offered an encouraging smile in return. Serenus had no aspirations to be the head of the family; he was content to be what he was, namely the "Italian housewife" they teased and accused him of being. He was more home-and-hearth oriented than Severus, and he had no objections to being included in Tybalt's oath of fealty.
Severus studied the cord, surprised by this unexpected turn of events. When he'd brought up the idea that perhaps he had developed wolfish traits, he hadn't expected this. He supposed deep down, he thought that just because he felt like an alpha, it didn't mean anyone else would agree or treat him like one except perhaps for Remus. Being recognized, having his talents and abilities acknowledged, being respected - these were things he had once longed for, but which had eluded him. He'd never been given the recognition or respect he felt he'd earned in the Order or at Hogwarts, either as a student or as a teacher. He hadn't particularly wanted anyone else other than Remus and Serafina to know about his internal changes out of a deep-rooted fear - a fear that he would never admit to - that he would be laughed at for it or not taken seriously. This seemed to be a form of recognition, and he couldn't quite believe it was being offered to him.
"Is this what you want?" he asked cautiously. "Or is this just a means of easing the tension?"
"It's both," Tybalt replied honestly. "I do see you as the head of the family. I suppose I always have, and probably most of us do. I genuinely like and respect you. I even love you, which probably will get me an eyeroll, but that's fine." He dared a small, playful smile at Severus before becoming serious again. "I have never seen myself as head of the family, nor is it a position I want to have. I think you're better suited for it, while I... well, I'm the big, strong Auror, and I would protect any of us even at the cost of my own life because that's the way I am. But I'm not a leader. I was glad when Remus explained to me how you felt, because it gave me the chance to do something to try to make things right with you again. I would never knowingly hurt you, and I'm sorry for the times I've done it unthinkingly. I can't promise it will never happen again, because I'm only human, but I can assure you it won't be the same thing. I think you've seen that I kept my word completely about not stepping in between you and Serenus."
Tybalt glanced over at Serenus, then drew in a breath and looked back at Severus once more. "I know I'm not perfect, but I'm hoping that you can forgive me and let me back in. I want things to go back to the way they were before, because I miss you. Not in the same way that Serenus does, because I don't share that bond with you, but I miss having your respect and your friendship, and I miss the regard you once seemed to have for me. So yes, even though I hope this eases the difficulties we have had, I'm not a liar nor a dissembler; I think you know that about me. When I pledge my fealty in any way, I do it wholeheartedly. Whatever else I might be, I'm an honorable man."
"Yes, you are," Severus acknowledged as he reached out to accept the cord at last, satisfied that it was offered sincerely. He gazed down at it as he ran it through his fingers slowly, and then he looked up at Tybalt and nodded. "I accept." He paused, then added with a trace of gruff awkwardness, "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Thank you," Tybalt replied, rising to his feet with a somewhat hesitant smile. Not that it was all over, he wasn't certain what to expect. He looked at Remus, catching his nod of approval, watching as Remus slid an arm around Severus' shoulders and gave him a hug. Feeling in need of some comfort himself, Tybalt returned to the love-seat and settled in next to Serenus, reaching out to capture Serenus' hand for reassurance.
"Well done," Serenus murmured, lacing his fingers with Tybalt's and squeezing gently. "I'm very proud of you." He glanced at Severus and added, "I'm proud of you, too."
Severus snorted, but no disparaging remarks were forthcoming; instead he leaned against Remus' side.
"We don't all have to offer gifts and pledge fealty, do we?" Regulus asked, giving Severus an amused look. "I'm not really suited for kneeling and humility, although I do have an antique necklace that would go quite well with that new Vera Wang outfit you bought last week."
"No, you needn't offer fealty or gifts," Severus replied, mustering some of his usual hauteur. "Just don't forget I'm the official leader of the family now."
"Believe me, Severus," Regulus said, all trace of amusement gone as he turned a serious expression on Severus, "you've always had my respect, official position or not."
"And mine!" Gaius piped up, although his eyes gleamed with humor. "I just want to be the spoiled, pampered baby brother. It's a position for which I am well suited."
Remus chuckled, holding Severus close, turning his head to brush his lips against Severus' cheek, murmuring to him in a tone only Severus could hear. "I told you I'd teach him to speak wolf. He just went in a bit different direction than I expected. I hope you don't mind."
"No, I don't mind," Severus replied, keeping his voice low as well. "I appreciate it."
"Good. You did very well," Remus said, lifting a hand to stroke Severus' cheek. He smiled with indulgent humor. "Although I do wonder what Celestra and Tybalt's mum are going to think about suddenly having you as leader of their family! You might want to let Celestra off the hook. I have the feeling that you and she butting heads might be more than the universe is prepared to endure."
"I'm prepared to let them both off the hook," Severus replied. "I doubt they would be best pleased to learn they have been included in the mix, and you lot are quite enough as it is."
"At least we keep your life interesting." Remus chuckled softly, brushing his lips over Severus' cheek again. "How about going upstairs, and I can show you just how interesting life can be with just me?"
"I believe I already know," Severus said as he stood and held out his hand. "But a reminder would not go amiss."
Remus rose, taking Severus' hand. "I think we'll be saying goodnight now, family. Enjoy the rest of your evening." With that, he turned and led Severus toward the stairs.
"I think I'm ready to turn in as well," Tybalt said, smiling at Serenus and squeezing his hand. "Care to join me?"
"Definitely." Serenus returned Tybalt's smile as he too stood up. "I think a certain Auror deserves to be lavished with... appreciation."
"I'm not going to turn that down!" Tybalt chuckled. "Good night, you two," he added to Regulus and Gaius. "Don't do anything we wouldn't do!"
"That rather leaves the field wide open, doesn't it?" Gaius asked in amusement. "Ah, well, if the fun is over for the night, we might as well turn in too, don't you think, love? Although I can't imagine what we'll do up in the bedroom with that great big bed as early as it is..."
"We have from here all the way up to the third floor to consider the possibilities," Regulus replied, straight-faced. "I'm sure two clever fellows such as ourselves can think of something along the way."
"No doubt," Gaius replied. He took Regulus' hand and headed in Serenus' and Tybalt's wake, eager to prove just whom he owed his own fealty to.