The entire trip back from the train station to Prince manor was filled with a heavy silence, which neither Rowan nor Severus dared to break. The instant they arrived at Prince Manor Rowan was firmly taken away by Aunt Georgine, while their grandfather, Reginald merely stared at Severus and gestured to him to follow Reginald back to the study. Rowan and Severus could only share a glance at each other as Rowan mouthed, "Good luck," before being dragged around the corner by Aunt Georgine.
Taking a deep breath, Severus tried not to wilt as he followed the tall, thin, but stern form of their grandfather. It could only be one thing; it was the inevitable punishment finally at hand. And there was no turning away this time.
Once inside Reginald Prince's study Severus quietly sits in a chair and studies his hands as he warily waits for his grandfather to speak. However, Reginald Prince does not speak a single word as he merely stares at his grandson for an exceptionally long time. The silence is so uncomfortable that Severus fights off the urge to squirm in his seat as he is unsure of what to do or say.
Finally, unable to bear the silence any longer, Severus glances up and stiffly says, "Just go ahead, grandfather. I will take any kind of beating that you wish to dole out. I know that I more an amply deserve a beating and more for putting Rowan in such danger."
Tucking his head in, Severus waits for the beating to begin. Yet nothing happens, confused and more than a little wary, he peeks up at his grandfather, who is merely staring at. Truly bewildered by his grandfather's stare, Severus warily says, "Aren't you going to hit me, grandfather?"
"No," Reginald serenely replied as he leaned back into his seat. "It would serve no purpose, and the Prince's do not beat each other with their fists." Which was completely true, but that did not mean abuse did not occur. There were spells that could create the same effect, and not a leave a single trace behind of such a violent act.
"However, that being said, Severus, you will be punished," Reginald calmly explained. "You will be assigned to aid Tadbey in the gardens for the rest of the summer, and various other tasks that will be assigned for the entire duration of the summer holidays."
"Alright," Severus muumuued in understanding, but subconsciously his body relaxed at the announcement that he would not be beaten or starved. The memory of going hungry at times in their childhood were not happy ones nor that of punishing fists. It was something far too deeply ingrained inside of him that would never truly go away even with the passage of time.
After another stretch of silence, Reginald calmly, but harshly asks, "Severus, did it ever occur to you that your sister could very well die as a direct consequence of your actions? And do not play word games with me, Severus. You are incredibly intelligent and are no fool. You should have been more than amply aware of just how dangerous the Triwizard Tournament could be!"
"I know," Severus sighed in old embarrassment, "but I thought, I knew better."
"We the Prince's tend to be a prideful lot," Reginald matter-of-factly stated. "And at times it is even a weakness, but Severus that cannot be used as an excuse. You were lucky this time, child, but you will quickly learn that there is a consequence to every single action that we take. And though we cannot see the ripples and effect of our actions, I can promise you this much that there is always consequence in the end, whether unseen or seen. Always."
"I know," Severus bitterly replied as his eyes sincerely met with that of his grandfather.
Reginald slowly nods his head and says, "Then do not make the same mistake again. You will not be so fortunate next time, Severus."
Severus gestures that he understands and rises to feet. About to turn away, he pauses and says, "Grandfather, Rowan and I are the descendants of three of the founders. Is it possible to inherit some of their characteristics?"
Reginald almost visibly stiffens, but he manages to hide his reaction just in time as Severus turns to study his grandfather. Studying his grandson's pokerfaced expression, Reginald slowly replies, "Of course, but those gifts are rare and far in between. In the past, there have only been four parselmouth's like our forefather Salazar Slytherin, and two farseer's like our forefather Merlin Ambrosius. Why the sudden question?"
Severus shakes his head and says, "Well, I was wondering if it might be possible to inherit something from Helga Hufflepuff and Godric Gryffindor?"
Reginald nods his head in understanding and does not show his sudden relief. "It certainly is possible, Godric Gryffindor was certainly a powerful wizard, if not rash."
Reginald paused mid-statement to eye Severus, who flushed and glanced away guiltily in embarrassment. "Godric Gryffindor was a most certainly a powerful wizard dueler and a brilliant wizard in his own right. I am certain that at least in part, your talent in spell crafting, Severus is due to Godric Gryffindor," Reginald explained.
"And as for Helga Hufflepuff, well, she was a brilliant witch in her own right, and was even able to magically forge items much like the goblins," Reginald murmured.
"It is even speculated by some magical historians that Helga Hufflepuff perhaps did indeed possess some goblin blood in her as she was able to magically forge the enchanted Hufflepuff cup. Most do not believe such a theory, but I do believe that there may even be some grain of truth as the goblins have never in their recorded history ever taught a wizard or witch the art of magical forging. And sometimes the most unfathomable of truth's simply are true."
Severus slowly nods his head at his grandfathers before a trace of doubt can be seen across his face. "But what of my transfiguration abilities?" Severus asked. "After my folly, I researched further into the ability, and I discovered that in fact that it is not a common ability at all. It should be almost impossible to turn into another via magic when one is not a metamorphmagus or using the polyjuice potion! And yet, I possess the ability, where Rowan does not!"
Reginald makes certain to keep his face carefully blank lest he give anything away. "True, but sometimes a gift simply just appears in a family, Severus. And ignoring that detail, before we were ever Prince's, we were the clan known as Hassan's. Perhaps, it is simply a gift that has reappeared with time," Reginald somewhat truthfully answered. "And do not forget that the Snape's bloodline itself married with various muggle lines, who knows, if there are not other squib lines belonging to other pureblood families."
And he was certain that said gift did not belong to the Prince family and that any of the other founder's bloodline, but rather said gift belonged to Gellert Grindelwald. And though he strongly suspected that was indeed the truth, Reginald was not about to open Pandora's box. It was better that the secret died with those that knew it and it would never be passed down to the next generation. Because ignorance is at times bliss, and the truth is not always a shining beacon of light and hope, but rather the gaping maws of the deepest pits of hell.
Severus relaxes a bit at his grandfather's response believing it to be the full truth. Turning away, he says, "I'll be going now, grandfather." And departs through the door shutting the door quietly behind him.
Reginald's gaze remains steadily fixed at the closed door of his study for the longest of time. His grandson's question had not stunned him but rather filled him such a feeling of unease, and dread. If his grandson could put such a vague truth together than who else could? The information was out there and though hidden and difficult to piece together, it was not impossible to do so. And that was what worried him the most, but there were always ways to silence the truth. And if that meant that he had to stain his hands with innocent blood again, so be it. He was already a monster.