Thankfully the weekend was just around the corner was what everyone was thinking as they ate lunch especially Rowan and Severus. After lunch, they would have a few hours to themselves to study, before their lesson with Dumbledore to learn Mermish. They were still in the middle of eating their lunch, when Professor Slughorn appears in the Great Hall rather distraught, with the wisps of his thin remaining crown of silver and few still strawberry colored hairs somewhat stuck askew as if he'd been in a great hurry.
Professor Slughorn's gooseberry eyes frantically scan the Great Hall, before finally spotting his targets. Huffing and puffing from having run up the stairs, Professor Slughorn says, "Mr. Prince and Miss Prince, the both of you are to immediately report to the Headmaster's office!"
Rowan and Severus glance at each other as they hadn't done anything thus this year to be in trouble for. Shrugging they wave goodbye to their friends as they leave their half-eaten meal on the table, before following Professor Slughorn out the door. Trails of whispers follow them as they wonder if the two of them had gotten in trouble.
Of course, most of the whispers were rather nasty. "What did you expect?" "They're Slytherin's heirs?" "It was bound to happen."
As they walked, Professor Slughorn nervously says, "Not to worry, both of you will be excused from turning in any late homework next week."
"Why would our homework be turned in late?" Severus asked with a frown as Rowan furrowed her brows in silent reply.
Professor Slughorn nervously reaches into the nearest pocket of his tweedy vest and removes a hankie to wipe his sweating bald forehead. "Nothing of the sort," Professor Slughorn stammers and to his relief sees his savior. "Why there is Professor Dumbledore! I'll leave both of you in his safe hands!" Dashing off faster than the chubby figure should, Professor Slughorn quickly vanishes from view.
Rowan and Severus both merely stare in perplexion at each other, before they turn to study Albus Dumbledore with wary eyes. Dumbledore seemed unusually somber as he says, "If the both of you would follow me please, we'll be heading to Hogsmeade immediately. Your grandfather and aunt are waiting for both of you there."
"Why?" Severus pointedly inquired, but Dumbledore did not answer.
They followed him to his office, where Dumbledore says, "The both of you will be flooing to the Three Broomsticks. Miss Rosmerta is expecting both of you. Your family members will explain everything." Before they can reply, they flinch at hearing a loud cry from Fawkes who bursts into ashes.
Turning away from the ashy smoking pile, Rowan says, "I'll go first." Grabbing a pinch of floo powder she tosses it into the flames and says, "The three broomsticks," before walking into the green flames. The pub, as usual, was full, but to her surprise, their standing before them was their grandfather and Aunt Georgine. Aunt Georgine looked angry with her thin lips pressed together, while their grandfather Reginald seemed rather grave.
Rowan reflexively steps to the side sticks her hand out at hearing the flames roar behind her. With ease, she catches the stumbling figure of Severus as he glances around in relief. "Is there something wrong, grandfather?" Severus asked.
"We will speak later," Reginald curtly said, before nodding at Miss Rosmerta in thanks. Reginald quickly led the twins outside as he took Severus by the arm, while Georgine took Rowan. With a soft pop, the four them reappeared on the Prince grounds.
Rowan and Severus were rather bewildered at this point as they were hustled inside into the study. Putting their bookbags that they were still carrying, they sat down as Aunt Georgine stood by the door while their grandfather stared out the window. With his back turned to them, he said, "Rowan, Severus, I do not wish to be the bearer of bad news, but your father was found murdered last night in prison."
Rowan and Severus are immobile as mixed feelingss arose inside of them. To them, he'd been long gone for a very long time. But even still, not all memories were bad. And once upon a time, they'd been their parents, peanut and almond. There had been love once there before, and even a dry well still has a small puddle of water left behind.
"Was it another inmate?" Rowan finally dared to ask.
"No," Reginald quietly said. "The muggles cam-are-a's captured the intruders as both being wizards, but their hooded faces remained unseen."
"Was it the killing curse?" Rowan quietly asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yes," Reginald confessed. "The dark mark was also seen overhead. It would seem it was in direct retaliation to the Prince family revelation. I am so sorry, you two. Despite it all, he was still your father."
Severus hands clench in memory of his grandmother's murder and now his father's death. How many more people would he lose to those deranged dark wizards?! In the end, what would it take to satisfy them?! The entire Prince family being wiped off the face of the Earth?!
"The funeral is to be held later this afternoon," Reginald softly said. "As he has no family members claiming him, we've arranged for him to be buried in the local Cokeworth cemetery, where the rest of the Snape's are buried."
Seeing Rowan and Severus remain still, Georgine says, "The two of you better go upstairs to put on your funeral clothes. The ones you already have should suffice."
Like an old man, Severus creaks to his feet as Rowan twines their fingers together. Giving his hand a gentle squeeze the two of them silently leave the study as Georgine watches their two figures until they disappear from view. At times like these, she did not like to recall just how young the children were, in fact, were to have suffered everything they had already lived through. They should have been properly protected, and yet another precious sliver of innocence had been chipped away from their very souls never to return.
Turning to her brother, Georgine coldly says, "You know what this means, Reginald. This is the third time they touched one of our own. It does not matter if he is a former son-in-law, he is still the father of the Prince heirs. We cannot allow for a fourth time to happen, Reginald. For surely it will be one of the children next time, and they have already tried with Rowan."
"I know," Reginald said in such a frigid voice that even the low fire in the fireplace threatens to flicker out from the bitter chill. "I have already called in a blood debt with Sanderson."
"Sanderson," Georgine whispered in unease. "And just what does Sanderson owe you, dear brother?"
"Enough that he will never repay me for a lifetime," Reginald icily declared as he turned to stare at his sister.
Georgine barely holds herself from flinching as she recognizes those eyes. Yes, those are the eyes of their cold-hearted murderous father as he killed their mother right before them. The eyes of a natural-born killer.