Later that afternoon in Cokeworth it was semi-cloudy as the cooling winds of autumn had faintly begun to blow. The Cokeworth cemetery was rather small when in comparison to other towns, but many preferred to be buried elsewhere than the tiny factory filled town. In the distance, the factories can be seen chugging as a faint scent of chemicals is carried on the afternoon breeze.
The outdoor funeral service is sparsely attended except for six figures. Four of them which were the Prince's and with the two others being the preacher and a prison officer carrying the deceased inmates' things. With the tragic murder and circ.u.mstances of the inmate, Tobias Snape, the prison warden was sending a guard along to hand over the personal effects of the inmate to the children of the deceased.
"Ashes to ashes and dust to dust," the preacher can be heard saying as continues his sermon.
If anyone takes it to heart or pays much mind to his words, it'd be a miracle. Rowan and Severus each have a hand on their shoulder as Georgine and Reginald make sure to keep a steady grip on the twins. They all stare at the black coffin that is in the ground as the preacher grabs a fistful of dirt and placing it onto the coffin.
The coffin was empty except for a transfigured pillow that been placed inside to take on the likeness of the deceased Tobias Snape. Tobias Snape's actual body had long been since cremated and been scattered to the wind by Reginald and Georgine. It was per tradition and especially given the lineage of Tobias Snape.
"He is in heaven now," the preacher kindly ended. "At last at peace." The preacher turned away as the breeze fluttered the dark black clothes of the Prince's.
The shiny dark gray stone in the sunlight read as, "Tobias Snape, Born 1928 Died 1974. He lived, his own way." It was probably the kindest thing anyone could say about Tobias Snape. But then again, he wasn't a monster either. Just a terrible person when drunk, and which had been quite often as Rowan and Severus grow older.
Finally, Rowan stepped forward and grabbed a handful of dirt, before tossing it into the cemetery. Turning towards Severus she controls her voice as she says, "It's time to say goodbye." Severus lips press together in anger and pain as he walks over and hurls a handful onto the casket in the open grave. No one comments on his actions as Reginald and Georgine politely do the same. For better or worse, he was now dead.
Clearing his throat, the prison guard in neat uniform holds a large crate in his hands as he walks over. The nervous guard clears his throat as he sees the pale, haunted faces of the dark-haired teens. "I've Mr. Snape's belongings," the prison guard said as he held out the box.
"Thank you," Georgine politely said as Reginald stepped forward to receive the crate.
The prison guard removes his cap and apprehensively holds it hand. "I can't claim to know what kind of man, Tobias Snape was before prison, but I can tell you about the man he became," the prison guard slowly said as he gestured his head in the direction of the box.
"Every week, he'd write to both of you, a letter than he'd never send. He'd regale us guards and the other inmates with tales of his twins. He said that his boy was cunning and smart, a genius. While his girl though quiet could throw a mean hook hard enough to take down a 6th year, while she was still just in her first year of primary," The prison guard hesitated. "I can't claim to know what went on in your family, but he did love you both. That much I do know. And please forgive me, if I'm overstepping my place. But I thought that the two of you at least ought to know the truth."
Putting his guard cap back on he nods at them and says, "Take care." Nodding to the a.d.u.l.ts, he trudges across the green uncut grass back to his car. All too soon he is driving away leaving the depressing graveyard far away. Not long after, the four Prince's apparated away to the Prince Manor.
Rowan wasn't one to wait to rip off the band-aid, the moment they stepped in through the manor doors, she pried the crate from her grandfather. Dragging Severus into the new parlor room now in use, she firmly shuts the door behind them. It was a private moment intended for Severus and her to sort through their emotions regarding the man they had once called, father.
Removing the lid, she slowly began to take out the personal effects out of the box. There was a rare picture of all four of them smiling. They'd taken a trip to the sea as a family. Severus and Rowan had only been toddlers, but they held onto the faint memories of the sea in their memories like a faded dream.
Gently setting the picture aside Rowan removed her father's coat that faintly still smelled of favorite cig and somehow impossible still of his scent. For a moment, she closes her eyes as she can see him the last time, she saw him. Opening her eyes, she folds the coat aside and pulls out a silver pocket watch that had been in the Snape family for over five generations.
The next item that is pulled out is bundles of letters dated. All that remains in the box are just bundled letters for her and Severus. Tearing off the binds, Severus moves to protest as Rowan barks, "He is dead, Severus! The least we can do is hear him out!"
Reginald and Georgine left the twins alone at this juncture. This was a time for them to privately mourn their father. And unlike themselves, those two had at least some good impressions of the dead man.
Handing over a stack to Severus to read, Rowan begins on her own stack.
"To my dearest,
Peanut and Almond,
It's January 9th, and both of you are turning thirteen today. I'd have given Severus, my silver pocket watch as is our family tradition for five generations, but yet here I am. I'm sorry that I don't have a gift for you, my Almond. But please know that I love you both and that I belong here in prison along with the rest of these rotting bad apples.
I just bet that both of you are growing taller and taller by the second. And if any of them witches or wizards give you any trouble give them a good sock to the nose that always works. But Happy Birthday, my little Peanut and Almond. May your thirteenth birthday be a special day.
Sincerely with all my love,
Your Unworthy Da,
Rowan's throat tightens as she continues to read the letters one by one. As her eyes grow misty, she refuses to cry, but gravity has a way of working against oneself. A single tear or two still managed to slip out despite her best efforts and made their way slowly down her pale trembling face.
It was late that night when Rowan and Severus finally managed to finish reading through three years' worth of letters. Severus's nose is red though his eyes are dry and free of tears. Sounding rather stuffy, he says, "The dunderhead could have sent us the letters at least!"
"And we would have burned them all," Rowan truthfully acknowledged out loud.
Severus opens and closes his mouth until he bitterly says, "But still, he could have tried."
"Maybe," Rowan quietly said as she gently placed the letters back into the crate. "But it's nice to know that least he was thinking of us. I think I might have grown to like this Tobias Snape again."
"Yes," Severus said as he reverently handed his stack of letters to Rowan. "He might have become a good dad."
The two of them tenderly collect the letters as Rowan asks, "Do you want the silver pocket watch or his favorite jacket?"
"It's tradition, you know," Severus said with a painful grin.
"Yeah," Rowan softly said as she folded their father's favorite jacket to keep for herself.
As for the rest of their family's things, Aunt Georgine and Reginald had long ago gone to Spinner End to collect any family memento's after their father was imprisoned. There wasn't much, but it'd been carefully packed away for them to see whenever they wanted. At present, they had absolutely zero intentions of sorting through those belongings, but maybe someday, they would.
Waving her wand, Rowan made a duplicate of the family portrait and handed one to Severus. Severus reverently took it as they both paused to glance at the once smiling faces of so very long ago. "We were happy once, weren't we?" Severus faintly commented.
"Yes, we were," Rowan gently murmured in reply. "And maybe, one day, we'll remember more of the good, then the bad."
"Yeah, maybe," Severus distantly replied as he carefully put the silver pocket watch into his pocket.
The crate of letters was carefully sealed and left with a small note for Dawn or Tadbey to preserve the letters and put them away with the rest of their father's things.
That night later in bed, Rowan and Severus were sharing Rowan's bed. The two of them stared at the glowing ceiling that shimmered like real stars. The star-filled ceiling was enchanted to change according to the orbital movement of the stars. The glittering dots twinkled at them from high above.
"Rowan?" Severus asked in the dark.
"What, Sev?" Rowan muttered as she closed her gritty eyes exhausted from their long emotional filled day.
"Do you think-," Severus paused. "-she'll go and visit his grave?"
"I don't know, she's Mrs. Filch now."
"But she did love him enough to abandon everything for him once upon a time. Who's to say otherwise?"
After a long pause, Severus finally murmurs, "I suppose that is also a possibility."
With a sigh, Rowan reaches over to gently squeeze his arm, before saying, "Go to sleep, Sev. We'll feel better in the morning. So just sleep now, shh."
Severus lets out a tired sigh as Rowan curls into the pillow and closes her eyes trying sleep. The room soon falls silent as the only sound was their breathing, but neither of them are able to fall asleep for a very long time. Unbeknownst to them outside in the corridor, Sir Knight Prince kept watching over the two of them. Someone had too.