"Are we done yet?" Severus tiredly said as he wiped the sweat off his brow. He still didn't know how, but his sister had somehow managed to become friends with a previously unknown house elf. And even more jaw-dropping managed to somehow convince their grandparents into allowing them to perform simple chores out in the sun, all in the name of healthy exercise.
"No, young master, we are not," Tadbey tartly said as he carefully removed a twining weed from one of the primrose bushes.
Severus sighs as he glances over to peek at his sister, Rowan, who astonishingly enough is enjoying herself while they weed. Turning away, Severus peeks at Lily, who looks quite lovely with her straw hat. Lily glances up and meets Severus's eyes and grins. "Having fun?" Lily asked.
"Very much so," Severus murmured somewhat truthfully.
Lily giggles and says, "I know you, Severus Prince, and you'd much rather have your nose in a book."
"Some of us simply prefer not to labor under the hot sun," Severus teased back.
"I don't know sometimes it's nice to get your hands dirty," Lily hummed. "Though tiring, it's nice to look up and see the efforts of your hard work. It's not always that easy-."
Seeing Lily's crestfallen expression, Severus quietly asks, "Is it Petunia again?"
"She's not that bad!" Lily protested as Severus merely raised an eyebrow in disagreement. "But Tuney's been meaner as of late. She calls me, freak, all the time now."
Furrowing his brows, Severus says, "And have you told her this?"
"I told her to stop and she will, but then she'll do it all over again," Lily confessed.
"Sounds like Rowan to me," Severus grumbled.
"Rowan's not that bad!" Lily objected.
"She flinches my snacks and won't share when she has some!" Severus began to list his twin's faults. "Believe it or not, but she whistles in her sleep." Lily chokes with giggles as Severus begins to smile at having caused Lily to brighten back up. "She is incredibly lazy at times and stays in bed for half of the morning. But worst of all, she always starts some mischief and never gets in trouble! But the moment, I try anything, I always get caught!"
"That's because you're terribly loud at sneaking about," Rowan whispered into Severus's ear causing him to jump.
Smirking at almost causing her brother to fall over, Rowan says, "And it's not though you're without faults yourself, Sev." Severus begins to pale as Rowan begins to list out his flaws. "There's your snoring and let's not forget your hogging of the blanket. Quite horrible social skills and hedgehog tendencies at bristling at everything it is a sheer miracle, you've made any friends at all. I'd say in retrospect that my tiny flaws aren't quite bad as yours, Sev." Severus chokes with outrage as Lily letting out loud peals of laughter.
With an added smirk, Rowan turns around as she takes off the gardening gloves. "I'm done with my section, Tadbey, I'll be heading inside now for a nice ice-cold lemonade," Rowan pronounced with glee causing Severus to glower darkly at her as he was not yet done with his patch of the garden.
"You did a fine job, young mistress," Tadbey said as he a careful eyed her neatly weeded patch in approval. "Go on and head inside, I'll send these two lazy stragglers inside as soon as they're finished."
"Hey!" Severus protested at the last bit causing Lily to spew into a fit of giggles again.
Rowan waves goodbye as she heads into the cool manor. Letting out a sigh, she heads to the kitchens to wash the sweat off her face. A small platter of tarts and pitcher of ice-cold lemonade have been left out by Dawn for the children. Seeing the kitchen empty, she quickly concludes that Dawn must be somewhere else about the house.
Splashing cool water onto her warm face, Rowan lets out a sigh, before washing her hands and drying herself. Feeling much less sticky, she takes a seat and pours herself a glass of lemonade. Taking a sip, she lets out a sigh at the refreshing drink, before taking another gulp. Licking her lips clean, she proceeds to eat a delicious tart with the odd sip of lemonade here or there.
Having consumed three tarts, Rowan decides that is more than enough, before wandering off to her grandfather's study. Knowing Severus and Lily, they'd be done soon, and after a quick bite to eat, they'd head up to the attic to see Sir Knight Prince. Lily was rather enchanted with the handsome Prince ghost causing Severus to feel more than a touch of jealousy at Lily's besotted gaze.
To her surprise, Rowan finds the study door locked. Furrowing her brow, she knocks loudly on the door and waits to be let in. Whispers can be heard inside until finally, the door unlocks to reveal the tense faces of the three a.d.u.l.t Prince's. Reginald blinks and says, "What are you doing here child?"
"I already finished my patch, grandfather," Rowan slowly said as she studied their tense bodies. "Is something the matter, grandfather?" The three a.d.u.l.ts share a look before Georgine's eyes subtly flicker towards a wedding invitation on the study desk.
Having gotten the hint, Rowan says, "Is that a wedding invitation? Whose wedding have we been invited too?"
The silence grows even heavier as Georgine shamelessly says, "Well, that's my cue to leave, brother." And with a brisk step, Georgine quickly fled the study, before Reginald could even stop her.
"Well?" Rowan asked for an explanation.
Sirsa glances pleading at her husband as Reginald says, "Go on now, love, I'll do the explaining." Sirsa lips twitch in a sad smile of thanks, before exiting the study and closing the door behind her with a firm thud.
"What is that all about?" Rowan thought to herself. "It's more like a funeral than anything else."
Taking his seat, Reginald motions for his granddaughter to do the same as he composes his thoughts. "It is a wedding invitation from the Filch family, a pureblood family," Reginald drily said.
"Filch? Any relations to Argus Filch, Hogwarts Caretaker?" Rowan curiously asked.
"Roderic Filch, is his younger brother."
"Oh, is he a squib too?"
"No, he is a wizard."
"Is he a caretaker too?"
"No, a shopkeeper of some sort."
Rowan pauses, before carefully phrasing the question. "Despite the Filch family being purebloods, I take it that they are not wizards of means."
"The Filch wealth was rather badly administrated," Reginald admitted. "There is not much left beyond some land and property."
Eyeing her grandfather, Rowan slowly says, "It would appear the Filch's don't run in the same circle as you do, grandfather. In that case, why has a wedding invitation been sent over?"
After a moment of silence, Reginald finally answers the question. "The wedding invitation is for Roderic Filch and that of Eileen Snape. They are to be married later this evening."
Rowan flinches as if slapped as her hands clench into fists. "And is there a reason, why Severus and I have not been informed?" Rowan icily said.
"We only just received the wedding invitation this morning," Reginald truthfully replied. "To be honest, we've been debating on whether informing you both given the short notice and that your friend presently is our guest."
Rowan slumps a bit at hearing the answer. "Why didn't mother write to us?" Rowan softly whispered. "Severus and I wouldn't have stopped her." Unable to hide the emotions in her eyes, Rowan presses her lips together. "Is this mother's way of saying that she is completely cutting us off from her?"
Reginald sighed, "Eileen, my daughter-, your mother is complicated." Seeing the stiff figure of his granddaughter, Reginald adds, "But the more pertinent question is rather whether either of you wishes to attend or not."
"I don't know," Rowan honestly summarized her feelings.
"Will you regret this if you don't go?"
"I'm not sure."
"In that case, let us ask your brother's opinion," Reginald said, before calling for Dawn.
A small pop is quickly heard as Dawn says, "What will Master be having Dawn do?"
"Well, you, immediately, please bring Severus to me," Reginald ordered.
With ears bobbing, Dawn squeaks, "Yes, Master!" A mere pop is heard as Dawn swiftly apparated away when another pop is heard with a rather surprised Severus mid-eating a tart. Severus blinks in confusion as Dawn adds, "Dawn will be staying with Miss Evan now," before leaving with a pop.
"What's going on?" Severus grumbled as he stuffed the rest of the tart into his mouth. "I-, was-, eating."
Reginald solemnly hands over the wedding invitation for Severus to read. Severus's hands tighten across the wedding invitation crinkling it further and further. Shaking with mixed emotions, Severus icily says, "Did the wedding invitation just arrive today or have you been hiding it grandfather?"
"No, the invitation just came in this morning," Reginald bluntly answered. "We've been debating all this morning on whether to inform both of you."
Slumping into a chair, Severus studies the crumbled wedding invitation in his hand. "Did-, did you know Rowan?" Severus softly asked.
"No, not until about ten minutes ago," Rowan murmured.
Severus lets out a small sigh as he raises his ebony eyes to gaze into his twin sister's midnight black indigo eyes. The two gazed into each other's eyes in silent unspoken communication until they both look away to face their grandfather. "We'll go," Severus softly stated. "Even if it's just to say goodbye."
"Then the two of you best dress quickly," Reginald said as he rose to his feet. "We will floo there and have Dawn apparate us back to the manor."
"Wait-," Rowan said causing both males to pause. "If Dawn can apparate almost anywhere, why have we been taking the car to the train station?"
"To maintain the wizard secrecy act, of course," Reginald said with a straight face as the twins suspiciously eyed him. "C'mon now, we have no time to waste, hurry up and dress yourselves!"
The twins hurry off doing as they are told, while Reginald momentarily pauses in his wife's parlor room. The room is a bit smoky as Georgine smokes her second cigar, while Sirsa numbly pokes the same spot in embroidery with her needle. Reginald clears his throat causing both women to look up as Georgine puffs out a cloud of smoke and says, "Well, how did it go?"
Reginald gives his sister a bit of a dirty look before answering, "They both wish to attend."
"Of course, they would," Georgine huffed. "Even if Eileen is a b*tch, she is still their mother."
"Georgine!" Sirsa said appalled at the language of her sister-in-law, but not necessarily at the insult towards her own daughter.
"Did-," Reginald stops to gather his breath. "Were Sirsa and I terrible parents, Georgine?"
Georgine purses her lips and frowns. "You were a much better father than our belated father and mother. Though you did spoil, Eileen, Sirsa tended to be stern with her. It was a rather good balance between both of you. And though the two of you were far from perfect, you were good to her and loved her. I think that's what really matters most in the end."
"Thank you," Reginald whispered as Georgine's lips twitched into a semblance of a smile, before rushing off to dress.
With her husband out of the room, Sirsa leans over and gently pats Georgine on the knee in thanks, before returning to her embroidery. Georgine lets out another puff of smoke as Sirsa says, "That is the last cigar, Georgine. This is a lady's room, not a bordello." Georgine snorts in reply but does as she is told. Even she knew, that her sister-in-law had been rather lenient in allowing her to smoke one cigar much less two.