Thanks to jamie2109 for the beta. *big hugs*
Title: The Letter
Pairing: SS (gen)
Length: 801 words
Disclaimer: Nope. Still not mine.
Summary: Severus sends weekly letters to his father. Finally, he receives a reply.
Severus was surprised by the owl’s arrival and even more surprised by the sender. While he had been writing every week to his father at the West Yorkshire Home for the Old Aged and Infirmed, he had never once received a reply.
He wondered why he would receive a letter now, less than a week before he was about to leave Hogwarts as a fully-trained wizard. Tobias Snape always claimed to loathe his son’s “freakish” nature. Severus wondered if perhaps his father had a change of heart as he lay in his hospital bed, with the cancer caused by years of working in the mill slowly eating him away.
Severus felt the curious stares from his Slytherin classmates, for he rarely received mail, especially not since his mother’s death. He kept it hidden from view, knowing that it was unwise to announce a connection to his Muggle father in the current Slytherin climate.
Finally, late that night, sitting alone by the fire in his Common Room, he opened the letter with shaking hands.
Dear Mr. Snape:
Please forgive the unexpectedness of this information. Your father forbade us to contact you earlier. I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, but I’m sorry, he’s dead.
Your father’s illness had progressed quite rapidly over the past several weeks, and he finally passed late one evening. Knowing that you often wrote him, I had urged him to contact you, but unfortunately he refused to do so.
Enclosed please find the deed to your family’s home, located on Spinners End. Your father requested that I send it you, as you were his last living relative.
I do hope that you receive this, as your father’s instructions to tie the letter to the leg of an owl that showed up made very little sense to me. But seeing as there is an owl currently waiting and watching as I write this, I can only hope that he knew what he was talking about.
My Sincere Condolences,
West Yorkshire Home for the Old Aged and Infirmed
Severus read the letter three times, and could feel himself shaking. His father. Knew he was dying. Knew his days were numbered. And still refused to speak to him.
He felt like screaming.
He carefully tucked the deed to what was now his home in his pocket. He hated that place; it held every horror, every nightmare from his childhood. But Severus wasn’t sure what his plans were, and having a home, even a hated one, was better than no place at all.
He then re-read the letter once more.
He looked up, and realised that Evan Rosier had entered the room. Severus crumpled the letter up and steeled his emotions, an expressionless mask snapping onto his face. The irony that he had developed this mask for dealing with his father was not lost on him. But he knew that it was dangerous to show any weakness, whether to his father or a fellow Slytherin.
“Severus,” Rosier greeted him. “I was hoping to find you here.”
“It appears that you have succeeded,” he replied, stamping down his desire to be alone in his misery.
“Indeed. I was wondering…”
“What are you doing after you leave Hogwarts?” Rosier asked.
Severus knew to be cautious with his answer. A Slytherin’s loyalty was to himself after all, so Rosier wasn’t asking to be helpful. “Why do you want to know?” seemed to be the safest response.
“Well…” Rosier’s tone dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. “There’s a meeting next weekend at Malfoy Manor. And I was wondering if you would be interested in attending?”
Severus couldn’t contain his incredulity. “As if I would be invited,” he blurted out, and then wanted to curse himself for his lack of control.
“Don’t worry,” Rosier said in what was supposed to be a soothing tone, but only came across as grating. “I mentioned to Lucius, the youngest Malfoy, your potion-making talent… and your skills in Dark Arts. He’s actually most anxious to meet you.”
Severus had heard the whispers, and knew of the quiet recruitment for the group meeting at Malfoy Manor. If Rosier brought someone deemed to be “valuable” to the meeting, he would reap many benefits.
Severus also knew that going to that meeting would mean renouncing his Muggle heritage, renouncing that half of himself. He could feel the crumpled up letter about his father as a leaden weight in his hand. The choice was easy. There was nothing for him in the Muggle world. Even his own father would rather have died alone than have had him there.
“I’ll go,” he found himself saying.
Rosier nodded. He turned and left the room.
Severus threw the letter into the fireplace. He walked away, and never looked back.