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Here Comes the Son
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December 12th 1889 — Nikolai's Office, Hogwarts
The letter had arrived among the morning's owls, but, recognizing the handwriting of his address, Nik had known better than to open it in front of his colleagues. Nonetheless, he had heard his heart pounding in his ears ever since, his mind racing—that it was in Rose's own hand was surely a good sign, but what if the news were ill nonetheless?

He had been distracted all through breakfast, and had retired quickly to his office as soon as he was able, ripping the letter from the envelope and throwing himself headlong into its contents. He had a son.

My dear one (it read in Russian),

Alexander Nicholas was born on the third of December. He and I are both in excellent health, and eager to see you once more.

There was more, of course, but Nik clung to the opening line. He had a son, a living son, born to the only woman for whom his affection rivaled that which he lavished upon his daughters. The boy's second name was not lost upon him, a nod to the Russian way of things but also a reminder—Nikolai would not be able to claim this child as his own, not if he wished to keep his reputation, Rosaline's, Ustinya's intact.

Many details still needed seeing to, many arrangements still needed making, but for now, Nikolai Sleptov could content himself with the knowledge that his love was in good health, and he had a strong young son.

set by soph!

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