Disclaimer:  Everything you recognize belongs to the goddess, JKR.  Written in answer to a WIKTT challenge and dedicated to my dad. (who never fails to tell me about the speeding ticket he got, rushing to the hospital after I was born).

Lullabies and Tears

Such immense happiness.  It feels so strange - this band of giddy joy that seems to tighten around my heart whenever I look at your sleeping face.  It is part pain…part bliss…I cannot even begin to explain it.  Who would have thought that such peace and contentment could be felt through the simple act of having a child fall asleep in your arms?

But you are not simply any child.

You are mine.

Mine.

Incredible.  This possessive instinct that rises inside of me.  It has always been documented that a mother's love is one of the most instinctive and powerful bonds in the universe.  But a father's love, in my humble and unbiased opinion, is a force that few would dare reckon with.  Especially a father such as yours.

Your mother is sleeping now, having earned a well-deserved rest after seemingly endless hours of labour.  I believe that my hands will eventually recover from the abuse they endured and I know I will never underestimate her physical strength again.  The bruises are a testament to that.

And now I have some time with just you, watching as you sleep peacefully, lips moving slightly as if you are still searching for something to eat.  The others have left now…the echoes of countless congratulations have dimmed and the blissful silence gives me time to truly take in this marvelous event; which has so completely changed my life.

Not that there have not been other life-altering moments but most of those were not happy.  However, there were the exceptions and almost all of those involved your mother who saw something in me that I could not see myself.  She is a brave woman…a true Gryffindor…and dared to do what no one else would.

Love me.

And I love her.  Sometimes it frightens me, this hold she has on me.  I am ill used to depending on another and it took some time before I could look on it without considering such feelings a form of weakness.

I touch your hair softly.  It's quite sparse at the moment, but I have a feeling it will be black as mine.  Your eyes are that murky blue that all newborns share…the shade of the sky at twilight.  I hope you inherit your mother's eyes…and nose.

Oh, there is enough of me in you to never doubt your parentage.  You will always be a Snape and you will be the redemption of my family just as your mother was the redemption of my soul.  And, I hope, there is more redemption to come…but we will discuss this with your mother at a more opportune time.

For I could get quite accustomed to this.

Your eyes open and I smile at you, not entirely certain if you can see me or not.  You yawn and a small, chubby hand pokes its way out of the blanket I have swaddled you in and makes its way to your mouth.  I chuckle as you desperately try to eat your wee hand.  I know you are already hungry but I think your mother needs a few more minutes rest.

And then, a memory of something my mother sang to me…a memory long-forgotten in my past…that past that did not yet hold the promise of either your mother or you…or the shadow of much darker things.

And so I sing softly to you…the same words that my mother sang to me.  I won't lie to you…my voice is a little rusty but you don't seem to mind that much as you suck on your fist and look at me.  Your eyes blink as I sing and you yawn again.  Within moments, you are asleep, your hand still in your mouth.

"Severus?"

Surprised at the voice, I turn to your mother who, although sleepy and disheveled, looks positively radiant.

"You should be resting, Hermione.  It has been a long day," I say quietly with a warm smile on my face.

"That was a beautiful lullaby," she sighs.  "Will you teach it to me?"

"Of course," I then notice that her eyes are shining.  "Why, Hermione…you're crying.  Is something the matter?  You're not in pain, are you?"

"I am so happy, it almost hurts," she whispers.

To my surprise, she then sits up, not without a slight grimace, and touches my cheek softly.  I am surprised to see tears on her fingers.

"I think you feel the same, Severus."

I put an arm around her and hold our child close.  She is right, of course.  I do feel the same.  This love…this ache deep inside me, this welling of emotions that is so wondrous and yet frightens me so much.

Everything I need is within my arms.  And, through the lullabies and the tears, I know we will be all right.