Be a Father
Severus was so nervous he smoked a whole pack of muggle cigarettes in just an hour, an old habit he had taken when he was still a teen, walking back and forth somewhere around thirty times along the small corridor outside the Hospital Wing inside which Emily was giving birth. Useless Remus poor attempts of comforting, Severus couldn't stand standing still or listening to. He just wanted Emily and his child safe and healthy, only then he would relax. When a cry of a newborn child filled up the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts, Severus sighed in relief. The little Eileen Snape had come to the world after long hours of painful labor.
Few hours later, Severus and Cecile were beside the bed where a tired but happy Emily was lying with a tiny bundle in her arms. She had few short black hair on her head and eyes of clear blue color could already be noticed under her half-closed eyelids.
Cecile watched as Emily hugged her child, as Severus took her in his arms, as their look beamed with joy and she couldn't help feel her chest aching in pain. Now that they had their own daughter, there wouldn't have been a place for her anymore. Probably they had taken her under their roof just for a sense of duty… maybe they had never even loved her. Besides she was not their real daughter.
"Cecile, don't you want to hold your little sister?" Emily asked sweetly.
Cecile retired stubbornly into her shell more, while those thoughts tormented her inner self. She had been so happy when had dreamed of her little sister. In reality she just wanted to be a part of the family, she just wanted to be loved like a daughter, only wanted to be regarded like their daughter…
"I am not her father."
"Cecile, your mother asked you a question." Severus told her with his usual authoritative tone.
Cecile' eyes locked with the ones of who she had thought for years as her father. The look of sorrow in her gaze was so intense that involuntarily Severus saw through her, inside her mind. He could sense his words echoing, her anguish, her aching desire to be regarded as their, as his daughter.
"Cecile…" he tried to say and stepped towards her, but the girl avoided his touch and flew away from the Medical Wing faster than she could. She rushed to the Great Hall, then kept on running along Hogwarts grounds taken by a blind, turbulent agony . She was so absent-minded while she was running that she found herself inside the Forbidden Forest almost without noticing. From above the Astronomy Tower a brown haired, green eyed boy worried seeing the little figure of the girl he would have spotted among hundred people crossing the boundary of the Forbidden Forest and disappear into it after the sunset.
He kept staring for awhile hoping to see her return and wondering if it would be better call for help. Then, when he saw his Potions Master racing from the main door and looking around frantically he scurried to the Great Hall to warn him. His Cecile was in danger and he know how poor her protective charms were.
He dashed along the corridors not caring at all to hit other students in the meanwhile, until he spotted the feared Potion Master. He had always known about the relationship between Professor Snape and Cecile, but from her way to avoid the matter he had guessed she didn't like talking about it. "Sir, I've seen Cecile crossing the border of the Forbidden Forest," he reported agitated, when he managed to catch him up.
Severus heart skipped a beat. He flied outside and without hesitations entered into the Forest, calling his daughter aloud.
Maybe she had already passed by that spot, but she couldn't be so sure. All the trees were alike and the heavy mist hovering all over the place seemed to swallow everything. Grim noises from somewhere were sending shivers along her spine. She had her wand on her pocket and tried to cast a Lumos charm, but as expected her wand didn't light anything. More and more frightened , she leaned on a tree trunk and tried to not get into a panic. She was alone, lost in the Forbidden Forest, nobody knew that she was there and nobody would have came in her rescue.
"Why that birdie is different from the others?" asked little Cecile, pulling Severus' sleeve, pointing up at the finch' nest among the arms of the trees along the cobblestone path of Prince Manor.
"Because that bird is, as a matter of fact, different." he answered while kept walking.
"And why is it different?"
"Because it is a cuckoo in a finch's nest." he answered bothered, while the child kept following him like his own shadow, pestering him with her never-ending questions.
"And why is cuckoo in the finch's nest?" she continued undismayed.
"Because the cuckoo uses to deposit her own eggs in other birds' nest to make sure they grow well" he explained, sighing.
"And new mum doesn't see that his isn't the same as the others? " she asked another time.
"Well, let's say that she raises him like its own."
"So she love him like he's her own birdie?"
Severus finally ended his walk for Cecile to catch up. He wore a thoughtful look for a while, then answered firmly positive.
"How preeeetty!" cried happily Cecile, hopping around him. The Finch-mother and her cuckoo son left the nest and flew away in the clear sky, over the countryside around Prince Manor. Severus shacked his head resigned but he was smiling slightly. That child was so noisy.
Why did she have to remember that episode now?
An abrupt noise of rustling as if something had touched the leaves made her suddenly turn. She tried to focus but she couldn't distinguish anything, it was pitch black all around. High above, she heard a snapping sound and raised her head to find herself face to face with the clacking chops of a gigantic spider, his watery eight eyes shining dangerously. She screamed aloud while run away hopelessly as fast as she could, entering more in the deeps of the forest.
All around she saw other spiders hung to silver thread, lowering down to catch her up. A silk thread wrapped around her legs and she crashed on the ground, trying to hold onto a root or a rock while her body was dragged towards the snapping chops of the spider who had seized her. Her nails scraped the earth when there wasn't anything anymore to hang on, but she didn't have the power to fight that giant beast. She tried frantically to cast a defensive charm with no result, and terrified she saw the spider chops close on her leg, feeling an unbearable pain while her bones were being broken. So it is the end, she thought at some point during the agony. She would have been torn into pieces and eaten bit by bit.
"Let go of my daughter, repulsive being" she heard screaming by Severus' deep voice while a flash of green light hit the animal body which fell back with his six legs turned up.
"Dad!" she cried happily. He was there, right there to save her. She stretched out her arms towards him and while he picked her up, her lifeless leg assumed an unnatural pose. The pain was agonizing, but Cecile at the same time had never been happier.
His father's arm was copiously bleeding and a she spotted a deep cut under his ripped robes. Angry snaps were followed by an Acromantula horde assaulting them. Severus cast maledictions everywhere, but they were outnumbered by the massive number of spiders. Cecile tightened her grip around his neck and was shaking like a leaf. He had to think a way to flee away, the sooner the better.
He closed shut his eyes, focusing.
The following moment his body raised from the ground, hovering above the thick woods. He was flying with Cecile in his arms out from the Forbidden Forest towards the security of Hogwarts.
Now the entire family was reunited in the Medical Wing. Cecile had to deal with the painful growth of her broken leg bone, while Severus was forced to take a potions to counteract the dizziness effects of the Acromantula poison.
Emily couldn't leave Cecile alone, kissing and embracing her, telling her how sorry she was to have neglected her and how much she loved her, exactly like a daughter. Cecile held in her arms her little sister, who stared at her with clear blue eyes, pulling her long black hair with her tiny hands. She regretted to have previously felt such a mean feeling towards that wonderful creature. When Emily and the baby were sent back to rest by an angry Poppy, Severus approached the bed where Cecile was lying, scolding her about the gravity of her action and warning her to never step again in the Forbidden Forest.
"Dad I love you" was her simply answer when he ended his reproach. Severus, a little clumsy, put an hand on the head, caressing roughly her hair. He was a man of few words but his actions spoke more than them.
After he was gone, she endured the painful effects of the Schele-Growth without sleeping a single minute, but even if the physical suffering was strong, her heart was filled with joy.
"Let go of my daughter,"
She smiled from the bottom of her heart.
The day after Alan paid a visit bringing a bunch of pretty flowers and made her company until it was allowed. When her leg was healed, Cecile slipped into Emily's bed, who was holding little Eileen in her arms. Severus was going back and forth to the Medical Wing at his every little free moment to visit his family.
From that night on, Cecile finally started again to dream about the future.
She dreamed again to run wildly with her smaller sister in the fields of Prince Manor…
… About their family reunited around the table of the dining room, chatting loudly…
… Eileen, sorted in Slytherin, befriending a red haired, green eyed Griffindr girl…
… A reluctant Severus giving Alan the permission to bring her to Hogsmeade in the weekend…
… Alan kissing her under the weeping willow near the lakeshore…
… Herself, adult now, wearing a marvelous long wedding dress, hooked on his father's arm who was leading her to the altar where a man with green eyes and a not-so-faint scar on his chin was awaiting her…
… Severus and Emily, hand in the hand, walking along the pebbly path of Prince Manor with their granddaughters tagging along…
… The entire family reunited for Christmas, her parents seated on the sofa holding their last grandson…
…Alan and her standing beside the decorated Christmas tree of the hall of Prince Manor with their two daughters busied unwrapping gifts…
And more and more…
A/N: Well, this is the very end folks! I would like to thank Whitegray for her precious help and Herbologist too for having betareaded the first chapters!
Thanks to everyone who will read, leave a little review or just stop by!