Doyle had written out his letter to this world's Doyle family and sent them out by owl. While he had concerns about their reactions, he'd decided, with some prompting from Tonks and Mimsy, to get in touch and find out. He still didn't know how they'd react, but he'd find out soon. Though he wasn't certain how long it took an owl to deliver a letter from Scotland to Ireland... Or how long it would take them to figure out what to say in response. He wasn't the only one discovering new relatives, he'd be a shock to them.
He'd also been looking into this world's vampires. Fond memories of his world's Angel or no, he wanted to exercise a little caution before meeting the Angel of this world, who seemed to go by Liam. The various books suggested more than a few differences from humans, among them problems with sunlight and a blood-only or perhaps blood-based diet, but they seemed to be reasonable enough people. More secretive and tougher than human types, but not the generally evil menaces of his own world. With that in mind, he'd sent a letter to Liam as well.
The first letter had been a week ago. A week, and no reply yet.
He'd been trying to bury his fretting under research into this world's history and spell-practice. He felt like he was getting a much better grasp on this world's history, enough that he didn't always feel like he was bluffing desperately in his classes. His spell-work was improving to the point where he was now working on larger things, and he could manage much better detail. No more ugly coasters, though they still weren't particularly fancy.
Research had included the two books that Poppy had recommended. Kassandri's journal had mentioned seeing animal shapes over individuals under certain circumstances. She had claimed that those shapes were the beast-totems of those who were particularly close to the path of their guides. The Agamotto book had mentioned magicals with beast totems in a few chapters. One had mentioned that some magicals learned to take the shape of their beast-totem, a skill called the Animagus Transformation. That not all magicals had this potential, and that many who had the potential never learned, sometimes through lack of instruction and sometimes through unwillingness to put in the required work. Both suggested that the ability to see those totems was not a common seer-trick.
"Blast. The one thing that I seem to have a gift for and its one that I can't properly control," he muttered, thinking back to the chapter on seeing totems or guiding spirits. At least it didn't mean that he was losing his mind or sanity.
Something else that he'd noticed was that somehow, the seat beside Severus Snape had become his. While it didn't bother him to sit beside the temperamental man, the way so many people reacted to the potions professor did bother him. It probably bothered Professor Snape as well, which could be part of the reason for his disagreeable personality, which... set up a rather vicious cycle that helped nobody. He couldn't really fix everything, but he could give the man coffee and keep from getting his own head bit off unintentionally.
He'd had several more conversations with Tonks, ranging from Wizarding music to some of the traditions of old pure-blood families, to procedures and paperwork for her job as an Auror. They really seemed to help him learn more about this world, and he felt like he was learning more about Tonks as well. She was... interesting, and fun to spend time with, and... Completely out of his league, even if his heritage wouldn't send her backing away slowly, or cause her to start hexing.
Beyond that, his lessons had been moving right along, with rolls and rolls of homework, assorted questions, and he'd had to assign three detentions. Not only were these students much older than the ones he'd taught before, there were different ages to work with, so he was constantly forced to adjust for 'the students'. It was a whole different sort of stress, and probably good for him.
On the eighth morning since he'd sent a letter to the Doyle family and the sixth since he'd sent one to Liam, Doyle settled at the table for breakfast, pouring a cup of coffee for himself and one for Severus before he even looked at the food. Severus seized his mug with a noise that could have been interpreted as gratitude, or perhaps simple eagerness, and downed the bitter liquid.
Fighting back a smile, Doyle began to assemble his plate, and put together some fruit and toast before sliding that plate in front of Severus. After a few bites of his eggs, Doyle refilled the man's coffee cup. Owls began to fly inside, most of these carrying copies of the newspaper, with a few carrying magazines rolled in their talons.
As Doyle was eating a piece of toast, a small owl descended, landing on the table in front of him and presenting a rolled letter, bound with a blood-red ribbon with a look that could only be avian pride.
Doyle offered the bird the last corner of that piece of toast before taking the letter. He knew that the bird wasn't from Gringott's, and it looked far too pleased at delivering the letter to be a Hogwarts bird. Considering that almost everybody that he'd even met in this world beyond making a few simple purchases could be found in one of those two places... This letter had to be either from the Doyle family or from Liam Rhubeck. From his family.
"Letters seldom bite," Snape commented, giving the owl an impersonal glare.
"Mmmm," Doyle refilled his coffee cup and Snape's as well. "Newly discovered family. I'm uncertain what they'll have to say."
Snape took a swallow of his coffee and nodded, "Understandable."
"I've been told that there's little need to let meself be so worked up about it," Doyle murmured, one hand tracing over the ribbon while the other pulled his coffee cup closer. "I have a job and a place to stay, I'm not asking them to take care of me."
"Emotions do not always listen to reason," Snape shook his head, and took a bite of his fruit. Then he blinked and looked again at the plate, as if baffled at it being there at all. Then he gave a small shrug and took another bite.
Doyle slowly worked through the rest of his breakfast before deciding that he'd rather not open the letter in such a public setting. At least he didn't have any classes until a little before lunch, so he should have enough time to settle down again after reading the letter, whatever it said. Though he was hoping for good, or at least neutral words... He hadn't realized until he'd sent the letters just how much he wanted to have family that accepted him. Even family in another world.
Going to the history classroom felt like he was retreating, though Doyle wasn't quite sure what he was retreating from. It was a simple roll of parchment, bound with a ribbon but not sealed. Nothing on the outside revealed who had sent it. Taking a breath, he told himself "enough dilly-dallying, get a grip and open it."
He untied the ribbon and opened the letter. Before he even made out any of the words, he recognized the handwriting. Angel's handwriting... Liam Rhubeck's handwriting. "This will be harder than I thought. He's not the vampire that I know from Los Angeles."
In a manner that was a good deal less terse than the vampire Doyle had known, the letter expressed surprise that he had been contacted, curiosity as to how he’d learned that he was related, and a desire to remain in contact, perhaps even meeting in person, should they both feel the idea reasonable and come to an agreement about a time and place. In the closing, Liam identified himself as ‘your distant kinsman, Liam Rhubeck’.
Definitely not the same vampire. Perhaps they had more similarities, but Doyle could immediately see differences. Liam seemed much more sociable, or at least better with some social skills. He doubted that this vampire has spent a little over a century causing fear and death, spent a few more decades as a wretched bum, and then been sent to hell by a teenage blonde. He was probably a good deal more mentally stable for all of that.
“At least there’s one person who’ll claim me as family,” Doyle murmured. It gave him a rather warm feeling inside. Almost enough to cover the nerves that the Doyle family hadn’t responded yet.
He started trying to sort out what to tell Liam, certain that the vampire would ask, and just as certain that it was much too early to bring in alternate worlds and shifting in dimension and time. Truth, but not all of it. This would take some planning…
End Professor Doyle 18: Familiar Handwriting