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Chapter 1 : It's a New Day
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Severus Snape stared down at his wife in the hospital bed. He wanted to touch her but was hesitant to do so after what he, and she, had just been through. For in his eyes, she had changed into something a little more pure and to touch her without her knowing would sully the purity. Instead, he stared down at her and tried to figure out where and when his wife had changed. The only conclusion he could come to was motherhood.
Admittedly, he also felt exhausted but wondered if it would demean his wife to fall asleep. After all, she had had to do all the work. All he had had to do was coach her, soothe her, reassure her, help her get comfortable, hold her hand, talk with her, get things for her, walk with her, encourage her; all through thirty-six hours of labor. But as he watched his children being born and then his wife laughing and crying as she held them, he secretly admitted to himself that everything had been worth it.
His eyes flicked quickly to the two bassinets sitting in the corner. The babies had fallen asleep rather quickly as well after they had been cleaned, swaddled, and basically pried out of their mother’s grasp. Now they lay as deeply asleep as their mother.
He was afraid to go over to his children without their mother being awake but he desperately wanted to hold first his son and then his daughter. His mouth quirked at those words: son/daughter. Separate beings yet they were still connected to him. The entire thing felt strange and a little wrong to him. Here he was creating life when for the past few years he had been destroying it.
He had been a Death Eater for crying out loud; just one of the many individuals who ran around at their master’s behest torturing, raping, killing, and pillaging those He had deemed unworthy of life. Now, he stood on the opposite side of the coin with those who, under their leader’s orders, fought against such evil. He knew he was caught in the middle of the two sides for he could not give up the one nor completely join the other. Why was he allowed to become something he had never been? How could he ever have thought to do something that was his antithesis? But, aside from everything, he thought, here I now stand, as a father.
The word still felt odd to him when he thought of himself as one. The title conjured frightening responsibilities and duties that he would need to undertake—protector and disciplinarian to name only two—which clashed with his former persona. Can I do this? Can I become a parent? Well, a little late to be asking myself those questions, but still…It’s so different from what I’m used to being.
He was brought out of his reverie by a quiet knock on the door.
Madam Pomfrey, Lydia’s midwife and Hogwarts’ school nurse, walked in and smiled at Severus. Walking over to his wife, she took out her wand and did some incantations. Looking to be satisfied, she turned to the bassinets and did the same thing. Afterwards, she turned to Severus with the satisfied smile still on her face.
“Everyone seems to be doing well,” she whispered. “Do you need anything?”
Severus didn’t hold back his surprised look. “I can ask for things?”
“Sure. We like to pamper the fathers although not as much as the mothers.”
It seemed even odder to Severus to have people refer to him as a father than to have himself do so. “Um…I’m a little…well…hungry.”
She smiled. “I’ll have a Healer bring you up something immediately. Weren’t able to get a bite to eat in the last two days, huh?” she politely teased.
“Lydia kept me a bit busy.”
“First-timers usually do. But don’t worry the second time around is usually much shorter.” Severus looked startled at her statement. “Oh and by the way, you have visitors. Would you like me to send them in?”
“No. I’ll come out to them. I don’t want to disturb my wife.”
As Poppy left, Severus looked again at the bassinets. Moving over to them, he peeked down at his son and daughter wrapped in the blue and pink respective blankets. All of a sudden, an overwhelming sense of need to touch his offspring came over him again and he reached out with a tentative finger to his daughter. Running it over her forehead, he was surprised by how soft she felt. He was even more surprised to see her visibly relax against his touch. Finally gathering up his meager amount of courage, after his daughter’s display of contentment with her father, he switched to his son.
Lydia, and many others, had shown him how to pick up a newborn baby but he had never done it without someone watching him. Well, I’m going to have to do it alone sometime, he thought surprised at himself for that rather Gryffindor-like sentiment. Bending over, he slid one hand under the baby’s head and the other around the body. He lifted his son carefully, not used to the activity. The baby started to whimper and Severus immediately brought him into a delicate cradle-hold whereupon the child quieted.
Walking back to the couch, cradling his son, Severus couldn’t help but smile inwardly at himself. Here he was, the reformed Death Eater, Severus Snape, cradling his own newborn child in his arms. He was awash in feelings of wanting to protect, comfort, and love the little bundle in his arms, causing unbidden tears of happiness to gather at the corners of his eyes. Unused to the feelings and the resulting consequences, he immediately mentally slapped himself to bring his feelings under control.
The baby’s blanket had loosened in Severus’ inexperienced way of picking up a child, which allowed Severus a glimpse of one hand with five perfectly miniature fingers. He gently drew the hand out from the blanket and lovingly spread the fingers across one of his adult fingers. His son was absolutely perfect! He felt a father’s pride begin to seep through him and he looked at his son’s face.
Quietly he remarked to him as he imperceptibly rocked him, “Hey, little one, I’m your father.”
As if on cue, his son opened his eyes and squinted up at his father while curling his tiny hand around Severus' finger. Father and son stared at each other for a few seconds before the son was back to sleep again but that first glimpse at his son’s eyes brought the slapped back feelings rushing through him again.
Choking back tears, Severus whispered an entire litany of his responsibilities to his child and what he dreamed of for his son’s future. By the end of the speech, silent tears coursed down his cheeks.
“And I thought I was hormonal,” a tired voice quietly teased.
Severus brought his tear-stained face up to look into the deep ocean-blue coloured eyes of his wife. “I’m a father,” he proudly said to her.
She warmly smiled back at her husband.
“Why don’t you join me in bed? But bring our daughter; we can’t leave her out.”
Severus reluctantly set his son down in his wife’s arms and, with a little more confidence, picked his daughter up.
“Oh, I forgot, we have visitors. Can they come in?”
Lydia smiled up from smoothing her finger across her sleeping son’s forehead. “Sure.”
Forgetting he still cradled his daughter in his arms, he walked out the door and into the hospital’s waiting room. There he found Dumbledore and McGonagall; both stood when they saw him approaching. Dumbledore came over to him first.
“How are the new additions?” Dumbledore asked eyes twinkling as he looked down upon the sleeping form in Severus’ arms.
Severus subconsciously shifted his daughter so that she was lying more comfortably in his arms. “They’re fine; strong and healthy and very sleepy.”
“And how is the mother?”
“After thirty-six hours, she’s doing as well as can be expected.” McGonagall’s eyebrows rose with astonishment.
“And how about…the father?” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled even more.
Severus gave him the stupidest grin possible and then smiling down at his daughter replied in a small, cracked voice that was filled with pride. “I’m a father.”
Dumbledore chuckled and even McGonagall managed a small smile for the Potions master.
“It sounds like all is well, my boy. Indeed it does.”
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