Talking to Grandpa
"You are unbelievable! Why are you so incessant in giving me grey hairs? I counted them this morning and I have a total of six grey hairs, all down to you! You could have gotten yourself killed, you could have gotten arrested for murder, you could have angered the Dark Lord and for what? Nothing! Do you gain pleasure from other people's displeasure? Or are you so sadistic that you will do anything to suffer pain? Huh? Please, explain the theory behind your way of life because I simply do not understand!"
"I have no idea what you are going on about," Kiara said, staring at Severus with some wonder. For a reason unbeknown to her, she was back in her own bed at the Snape Manor. She had woken up only moments before and Severus had not given her so much as a hello or a relieved smile. He had gone straight into a rant.
"What do you mean you have no idea?" Severus asked, pausing in his pacing.
"I mean that I don't know why you are shouting at me. I haven't done anything."
"You are telling me that you don't remember engaging in a duel with one Lucius Malfoy?" Kiara stared at him blankly. "You know, Lucius. Tall, platinum blonde, lives in a big manor, has a son who looks exactly like him, has-"
"Yes I know who he is," Kiara cut in irritably. "I duelled with Uncle Lucius?"
"Oh no, you're here because even though I have a lot of things to sort out in the short span of five days and no time to look after you, I decided I missed you and brought you home," Severus said sarcastically. Kiara chose to ignore it. He was clearly annoyed and he tended to use his words in a less than friendly manner.
"Well then why am I here?"
"You are here because, four days ago, yes you have been asleep for that long, Lucius sent me an urgent Owl telling me that he can't handle your…what was the phrase he used…boisterous and potentially dangerous disposition and he needed me to come and collect you. I arrive, thinking all I'll have to do is shout a little and bring you home, only to find you unconscious, their dining room in a mess and Lucius treating what could have been a serious injury. Apparently you tried to kill him."
"No, no, no, no. I did not duel with him or do anything as try to kill him. We argued. That's the last thing I remember."
Severus raised a disbelieving eyebrow. "Then how do you explain your state? Unless I'm mistaken, a straightforward argument using words cannot result in various bruises, cuts and a broken rib, taking four days to regain consciousness."
"It's some kind of set up," Kiara said confidently. "I would remember something like that. I refuse to believe that I would duel with Uncle Lucius intentionally." She paused and added, "Of course, if he fired the first spell, then that is completely different matter."
Severus resumed in his pacing. He would have to question Lucius about it at a later point. Some of the things he had told him didn't quite match up to what Kiara was saying and the fact she couldn't remember it…well that was highly suspicious.
"Whatever happened, you won't be staying with them anytime soon. Narcissa is quite unhappy about it all. You also missed the Initiation Ball and the Dark Lord was displeased about you not attending however he was amused at the reason why. Surprisingly he still favours you out of all the new recruits. I suppose it's because he sees a lot of Lestrange in you."
"Unfortunately," Severus spat. He had disliked Bellatrix since their time at Hogwarts. Her teasing was as bad as her cousin's had once been. "There's passion and determination behind your actions. You speak your mind even when it's probably best to keep quiet. You're argumentative. Good Merlin, I certainly hope you aren't somehow related."
"What about Blaise? How is he holding up?" Kiara asked. She wondered how he was doing. He'd have had to go to the Initiation Ball by himself. Severus stopped pacing once again.
"I want you to call off the engagement."
Kiara sighed and sank down into her covers. "Et tu Dad? If this is about a supposed Hufflepuff muggleborn, I don't want to hear it. I have every intention to give him a good smack round the head about it."
"He has a temper Kiara. A bad one."
"I am not having the same argument with a different person. I don't want to somehow end up duelling you. Uncle Lucius already informed me of every reason as to why I should call off the engagement and I can take a wild guess and say that Blaise has done something else to make him seem like the worst possible kind of fiancé. Dad, at the moment, I really don't want to know."
"It truly does look like he is trying his best to get disowned," Severus insisted, sitting down next to Kiara on the bed, placing a hand over Kiara's. "I don't want to see you hurt Kiara. I thought Blaise was a sensible choice at first but the more I think about it and the more I actually see him, I think I might have made a mistake letting you rush into this marriage thing. He doesn't seem to be ready for the commitment."
Pulling her hand out of his hold and pushing away the covers, Kiara climbed out of bed, a chill hitting the skin not covered by her nightgown. "If you don't want to see me hurt stop trying telling me that. I know Blaise has his flaws but so does everyone else. He's my problem, I'll sort him out. Just stop telling me he's bad for me."
Severus ran a hand through his hair, frustrated by the way he was getting through to her. "Do you love Blaise?"
"I-I don't know," Kiara said slowly. She had never actually thought about it. Was that the reason she was so adamant in making sure he didn't ruin his life completely for the sake of one girl?
"I'm afraid it's a yes/no type of question."
'I can't love Blaise,' Kiara thought to herself. 'He's probably the best friend I have. In fact, I don't love Blaise, not in a romantic way. Like I love Severus in a fatherly way, I guess I love Blaise in a friendly way. He tried to warn that me and Harry might not work out, and I have to warn him that the way he's doing things won't work out either. I have to help him, not dump him. Even if he is an idiot."
"Yes, but not in a romantic way. He's my best friend."
"Then be a good best friend, do what's best and break it off."
Kiara didn't even answer. Pulling on her dressing gown and slipping on the slippers she found on the floor next to her bed, she left the room, allowing her feet carry her anywhere. That was the last argument about Blaise she was going to have with anyone. She was bored of it. One minute getting married to him seems like the best idea and then Blaise decides to take matters into his own hands and everything just continues to go wrong.
"A penny for your thoughts," someone said causing Kiara to jump. Looking down both sides of the corridor, she saw nobody. Looking up at the wall, she saw that once again she had come across Augustus Snape, her adoptive grandfather.
"Oh hello Grandpa," Kiara said taking a seat on the floor, leaning on the opposite wall for comfort. He smiled warmly at her. He did not look a lot like Severus. He had a round face, with a salt and pepper moustache and brown hair short and greying. It must have been a later portrait of him, but he had his son's eyes. The same darkness but at least they were not void of emotion.
"I do love it when you call me that. I never thought anybody would. Severus never came across as someone ever wanting to have children. So, what brings you down here this time? Severus behaving strangely yet again or were you simply bored and thought it good idea to come and see me?"
"I'm having a few problems and I needed to think. I hope I didn't disturb you in any way."
"Nonsense. There isn't much to do here anymore. Severus destroyed all the other paintings of me, banishing this last one to this corridor, where rarely anybody walks down and the other paintings can be rather temperamental and some are simply infuriating. There are days when I have no choice but to stay confined here." Kiara saw where Severus got his ability to rant from. "Now about these problems. I have enough time to while away. I wish to hear them."
"I'd rather not talk about them Grandpa," Kiara said. Another Blaise discussion would drive her to insanity. "It isn't that I don't want to talk about them with you, but I'd like to have few minutes when I don't think about blundering, hopeless romantics who I have an attachment to."
"Betrothal problems? Your grandmother had quite a few as well. I was a rather reluctant groom-to-be when I was your age. I gave my father an unnecessary hard time. In fact, I do believe I was quite the arrogant little fool. Getting married-"
"Sorry to interrupt you," Kiara cut in, rubbing her temples. "Grandpa, please. I really, really, really, don't want to hear anything about betrothals, engagements, marriage or anything like that whilst I'm down here."
"If it distresses you so, then I shall amuse you and not mention any that you just mentioned. However, that means it is up to you to come up with a sensible topic of discussion. Something worthwhile. Something where you might actually gather useful advice from."
"You could talk about yourself."
"Splendid idea. What is it that you want to know about your dear grandfather?"
"If it isn't too much trouble, I mean no offence by this but I am curious…and if you are comfortable talking about it," Kiara stuttered, not quite sure how to start her question of. She took a deep breath. "How did you die?"
"How did I die? I could tell you about my whole life and you ask me how I died?" Augustus said, his voice displaying a hint of offence. Kiara cringed. She should have known better. "Do you not wish to hear about my life? Is your curiosity only satisfied by knowing my death and nothing else?"
"That's not what I meant. If I offended you then I'm sorry. Let's pretend I never asked."
"No, since you've already asked I might as well answer. I'll tell you how I died. It was not pleasant. It was not the way I ever, ever thought I'd die. Even now, it makes my blood boil to know that my own flesh and blood could turn on me. The man, that man who dares call himself my son and I have no choice but to accept it, is the one that killed me. My own son murdered me!"
"Why would he do that?"
"Severus had always hated me," Augustus confessed once his breathing was back to normal. Even for a painting it was hard to talk and not breathe at the same time. It was an odd concept but it worked. "I am not going to hide and say I did not raise him with harsh hand but he was not the son I wanted! Always skulking about instead of playing with boys his age, more interested books than Quidditch and would rather go gallivanting on that stupid horse of his than attend family functions. He was a disgrace to the Snape family. His mother took his side, and slowly, any happiness we might have had together disappeared. So I gave them both what they deserved."
Kiara began to understand Severus more, why he was so gentle with her, why he grit his teeth and bore her behaviour. He didn't want to become like his father. He didn't want to one day be a painting describing the reason for his demise to a grandchild who happened to one day cross his painting. The first time they had met, Augustus had seemed a pleasant man, but then again so had Lucius. They were all the same.
"And then he went and joined that ridiculous group. I was brought up to look down on those below me in wealth and blood status, but I never truly hated Muggleborns. I saw no point in getting rid of them. They all had their uses. We argued to no end, his mother always trying to defend him." A dark look spread over his features. "One day she snapped. She'd had enough of Severus, me, magic; everything. I tried to stop her but she hexed me and left. I suppose I was a lot harder on Severus from then on. Any vague reminder of that horrid mark on his arm would send me into a rage. You've seen it, haven't you?"
"Yes," Kiara replied, absentmindedly pulling on the left sleeve of her dressing gown, knowing herself she had the same imprint. She thought it best not to share that with him. "It's hideous. Nasty. Completely see why you hated it."
"Severus did the same as his mother not too long after and snapped as well," Augustus continued, smoothing down his moustache with his thumb and index finger thoughtfully. "I thought he might leave, and Merlin that would have been the best thing he could ever do for me, but he whipped out his wand at the mention of him being one of those Death Eaters and threatened that if I made one more remark, he would kill me then and there. I wish I had taken him seriously because the next thing I knew, I saw myself falling to the floor dead. It was in my study and rather stupidly I'd placed all my paintings in there. We all started shouting at him, and he destroyed each one except me. I don't know why. I've been down here since."
"I'm so sorry Grandpa."
"So am I. I should have drowned Severus in the lake when he was young."
"Then I wouldn't be here."
Augustus seemed to snap out of bitter thoughts and attempted a smile. "Very true. Yes, he has turned out to have quite a knack for the whole father thing. Knowing him he does the opposite of everything I ever did." He gave a loud yawn. "Well, I am tired."
"I'll leave you to sleep," Kiara said standing up. "And Severus is probably wondering where I went off to. Goodbye Grandpa, until next time. And I really am sorry."
"Take care Kiara."
Kiara walked back to her room, her head buzzing from this new insight. The biggest question in her mind was to the whereabouts of Severus' mother. Was she still alive? If so, where? Did she really go live as a muggle or did she just move countries? Pushing the thought to the back of her mind for a rainy day, Kiara entered her room to find it empty. Walking further along the corridor, she arrived at Severus' room, what had once been the guest bedroom, converted when he gave her his room. He was in front of the mirror adjusting his dress robes.
"Where have you been?" Severus asked as Kiara sat herself down in an armchair. His were always the best because of the way he had worn them in over time. After all, he read a lot.
"Talking to Grandpa," she replied simply, ignoring the scowl on his face.
"Blaise," she lied quickly. "He had a lot of advice on that."
"I don't want you talking to him. There's a reason why his portrait is in the lowest furthest corner of the house. How you found him in the first place is beyond me but you are not to converse with him again."
"Because I said so."
"Where are you going?" Kiara asked to break an awkward silence, a slight frown appearing on her face as she tried to remember what day it was. Her memory was fuzzy and disorientated. The Initiation was the last clear thing in her mind and then she found bits of arguments, Draco helping clear up bruises and food.
"Parkinson's New Year Ball. I have to present my excuses for you not being there," Severus answered ironing out a pretty stubborn crease in his dark indigo dress robes with a few flicks. He turned and gave her a mock glare. "Again."
"Why am I not coming?"
"Because you are still unwell."
"I'm most certainly not. I'm fighting fit."
"Then it is because you are grounded."
"I don't think there is any need for me to repeat why I am angry at you." He ran a final brush through his hair before grabbing his cloak. "If you're hungry either call Knobbly or go down to the kitchen. You are not to leave the house. The gardens are cold and you aren't going to be missing the first week of school due to a cold. And your babysitter will be here shortly. They'll be Flooing into your room so if I were you, I'd get dressed quickly."
"Babysitter? Now that is really insulting. I'm too-"
The door closed with a slight bang. Muttering under her breath, Kiara threw on the first things she pulled out of her trunk before settling down with some soup and bread rolls. She wasn't really hungry. Kiara was almost finished when she heard the sound of unsettled soot and heavy landing footsteps. Remus Lupin stood there dusting himself off.
"Hello Remus," Kiara said, smiling. "See you got stuck with the job again."
"It pays well," he answered brightly. "I hope you don't mind. I brought a friend along."
Kiara was about to ask who when said person slid out of the fireplace, staggering forward and would have fallen had it not been for Remus' fast action. Thank Merlin she hadn't been eating anything at that point or she would have choked. They had not been on good measures at the end of the summer, and Kiara did not see how four months would have bridged the gap between them. Kiara closed her eyes and hoped it was a dream.