Fic post: The Tichborne Claimant, 6/?
I can't believe I missed two whole months. I am SO made of fail....
Title: The Tichborne Claimant, 6/? Rating: R 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. Part Four can be found here. Part Five can be found here
"Are you quite sure this is a good idea?" Hermione had, thankfully, waited until her children were outside helping Neville and the latest group of manumitted elves with the herb beds to bring up what was going on in the library. "I haven't seen Severus look so grim since Fenrir Greyback was on the loose all those years ago. Johnny was convinced he'd done something horrible."
"It's not him." Remus rubbed his bad knee even though it had stopped aching hours ago. "This is very difficult for Severus. His father was the great scandal no one spoke of, even Sirius."
"Did the students even know? Most of your generation would have been infants when the legal case was decided." Hermione gestured at the teapot, which obediently trundled over to Remus and poured a fresh cup of PG Tips. "I can't imagine that their parents would still be gossiping about Toby Snape a dozen years later."
Remus breathed deep of the strong, tannin-scented steam before taking a grateful sip. "The Blacks certainly knew something. It was one of the reasons Sirius and Regulus stopped speaking to each other. For all that he hated his parents, Sirius disliked Severus from the beginning, and at least part of it was because his father told him to avoid anyone named 'Snape' at school. If they'd been in the same house it might have been different, but - "
Hermione sighed. "It's like Draco Malfoy trying to court Harry at school by telling him that Ron wasn't 'the right sort of wizard.' Harry didn't know enough to care, but if his paternal grandparents had been alive to raise him, who knows?" She reclaimed her chair and rested her chin on her closed fist. "Is there anything I can do?"
"Besides taking Johnny last night so I could handle Severus? Nothing that I can think of right now," said Remus. Even after making love, Severus had thrashed about in his sleep. "We may need your research skills if Dora can't find anything at the MLE."
"I've already checked our library for anything from that time period. Augusta wasn't much for gossip or current events, I'm afraid." The corner of her mouth quirked to the side. "Of course, there's likely something at Harry's house but with Ginny due any day I'm not going to bother them unless I have to."
"I don't blame you. What is this, their third?"
"Yes, and I'm not sure it was planned." Hermione looked solemn. "They weren't precisely - content before this, or so I've heard. Ginny was training to fly for Holyhead again, you know, and then - "
Remus shook his head. He loved his son dearly, but neither he nor Severus had had to give up their dreams to raise him. "I hate to say this, but they probably should have stopped at two. She's always lived in Harry's shadow, almost from the beginning. That can't be easy."
"It isn't." A shadow of what might have been regret flickered across her face. "Why do you think Neville and I have stayed out of the spotlight? It's not easy being a war hero."
"Or a pioneering activist." Remus could not help shuddering at the memory of the media crush that had awaited them after he and Severus had married in America. Of course civil unions had become legal in Britain soon after, but for months Severus had had to use polyjuice every time he went to London. Fortunately Johnny had been too young to notice the paparazzi, but his schoolmates still gave him the occasional look, usually when the papers did one of their periodic retrospectives on the progress of gay rights.
Exactly the way Sirius and the Lestranges had treated Severus when the Prophet had done a profile of the judge who'd ruled against Toby Snape when the man retired in 1974. Not for the first time, he wished he could tell his teenage self to grow a spine.
Hermione seemed to sense what he was thinking without being told. "Or the child of the man who caused the greatest scandal of his generation," she murmured, eyes shadowed as she glanced toward the silent library.
Excerpt from a diary kept by Julia Anne Snape (nee Snape) dated from the late 1930s.
21 February - saw an owl today. No idea what it's doing here in Halifax. Spooky looking thing.
22 February - owl back. Tried to dive bomb me. It buggered off after Toby chucked a rock at it.
23 February - bloody owl was at the window again. Where is it coming from? Stupid thing needs to bugger off and stay buggered off.
24 February - someone or something chucked a letter through the slot. Looks like a joke, but it's for Young Toby so it's none of my business, is it? I'll take it over after supper.
Excerpt from letter delivered via Royal Post Owl to Tobias Julian Snape, son of Julia Anne Snape (nee Snape) and Tobias James Snape, on 24 February 1938.
…we therefore would be pleased to arrange an appointment with our branch in York to discuss your bona fides and the disposition of the late Augustulus Snape's estate….
Excerpt from letter by Tobias Julian Snape to Dombey & Jarndyce, solicitors at law, dated 28 February 1938:
I am in reciept of your letter. I don't know no any Augustalus but I'll talk to you.
Excerpt from a report from Junius Jarndyce, Jr., to his father, J.G. Jarndyce.
An extensive search of baptismal and birth records has revealed no written evidence that Mr. Snape and his mother are related to Sir Augustulus. However, Julianna Snape, Sir Augustulus' younger sister, was erased from the family records completely after she eloped with a Squib, so this is not a surprise. I have therefore relied upon anecdotal evidence from both Mr. Snape and his mother.
Julia Anne Snape claims to have been born just outside of Halifax in 1885. A baptismal certificate from All Souls Church confirms this. The mother's name is given as "Jane Snape," while the father's name is left blank. Mrs. Snape, who married her second cousin Toby Snape just before the Great War, refused to discuss the matter.
Although this odd omission on her baptismal certificate would seem to hint that Mrs. Snape's parents' relationship was irregular, it could equally indicate an unacceptable alliance, such as the alleged marriage between Julianna Snape and a Signor Malatesta, supposedly a Squib who was sent to Britain to make a fresh start after a scandal involving stolen manuscripts. Unfortunately, certain records were lost during the Great War, so it is difficult to determine which Snape was which. We do have clear records confirming that Julia Anne Snape gave birth to young Tobias in lawful wedlock in 1920, also in Halifax, and that he was raised and educated in the primary schools there.
In his favor, Tobias Snape does bear a strong resemblance to the late Aloysius Snape, Sir Augustulus' second cousin once removed, especially about the nose. He shows no sign of magical talent himself, but that is not a surprise if he indeed is unfortunate enough to have a Squib and a Muggle as close relations.
I have made an appointment with Tobias Snape to meet with us next week in Diagon Alley. A face to face meeting seems to be the only way to resolve this.
"So your father lied?" John looked up from the scrapbook, clearly bewildered. "And no one caught him? Why didn't they use Veritaserum? If he was supposed to inherit so much money they should have tested him!"
Severus sighed. How could he explain the old gentlemen's code to a boy who'd grown up with electronics charms, a New Age grandmother, and two male parents? "It was different then. A man's word was his bond."
John would not be deterred. "This business about Squibs is wrong, too. One of Uncle Harry's friends has a Muggle dad, and all those Hufflepuffs - "
"It was what they knew a century ago," said Severus. He rubbed the bridge of his nose and wished he'd thought to bring a headache powder. "Prejudice against Squibs, Muggles and Muggleborns was very strong."
"Aunt Hermione loaned me a book about it." The boy chewed his already ragged lower lip. "It sounds like prejudice against werewolves."
Or, why John lives like a schoolteacher's son, not in the old Nannau properties. They had been assured when the adoption was finalized that John, as the last heir to Nestor and Diana Vaughn, would someday assume control of his parents' property and land. Just when that would occur was still undetermined. The laws against werewolves inheriting property were long gone, but that didn't mean the purebloods in charge of Chancery were willing to turn over an ancient estate to one, no matter how distinguished his lineage.
"It was all of a piece," he murmured. Best not to linger on the subject. They hadn't told John everything about the legal settlement with the Vaughn estate, but he was intelligent enough to know that there was a reason why they hadn't actually bought the Copper Beeches until Remus had received that settlement check from America. "Perhaps it's time to take a short break. We've been working at this for a while."
"Yeah." John carefully shut the book and took a deep sniff of the summer air wafting in through the window "I think Aunt Hermione said something about lunch."
"That sounds like a splendid idea." Severus was not hungry, but food might take the edge off the headache spiking above his right eye. "Go tell Hermione that we're ready."