Severus had never had an easy life, nor did he make life easy for those around him.
It was no different on the day of his birth.
Tobias was with friends from the mill. Eileen was at home when she went into labor, and she spent hours in pain, and fear. They had no telephone, they were not connected to the floo system, and the neighbors were frightened of her. If she showed up on any of their doorsteps, they were likely to peek through the slit of a curtain, or a bent mail slot, and upon seeing her they would probably pretend not to be home.
So Eileen would have her child here, unless by some miracle Tobias came home early, and found her on the floor in agony, biting into one of his leather belt to quell the screams.
Severus was born breech. The labor was long, slow, and hard. Eileen was not sure she would survive it, but she was stronger than even she believed, and finally a crying baby covered in muck, with a head of fine black hair, and balled fists, was lying on the floor between Eileen's quaking legs. She managed to move enough to dip her fingers into the babies mouth, to make sure it would not choke on any fluids, and then she slumped back in weakness, and let the baby lay on the dirty floor screaming.
She closed her eyes and thought over the signs of his birth:
He was born early, which meant he would be impatient and ambitious. The labor was slow, and hard, which meant he would be a stubborn child, a methodical worker, and steadfast. Lastly the child had been born breech, which meant he would be gifted with second sight, magical, or healing powers. There was also a superstition which stated a breech baby would be crippled if the mother did not rub his legs immediately with bay leaves.
Well. Severus, as Eileen had decided to call him early on into her pregnancy, would just have to wait and be stronger than some superstitions, because the kitchen might as well have been in Africa.
The baby continued to scream, and cry, persistently and loudly. Finally Eileen gathered enough strength to hold him, though it felt odd to her to have something so tiny and dependent in her arms; something that was part her, and part Toby. Her parents had never been very affectionate to her, it was just their way, and Eileen mirrored that trait. She wondered if something was wrong with her because holding her child did not bring her joy. It felt awkward, and frightening.
Through exhausted black eyes she gazed down at her son. She didn't know what he wanted, or how she could get him to stop crying. His tiny fists were still bunched angrily, his baby nose was unmistakably an heirloom from the Snape side of the family, and his skin had an unhealthy yellowish pallor. He was not a pretty baby, but neither were his parents attractive people. Eileen sighed, feeling not only physically weary, but emotionally weary also.
She had married Tobias after learning of her pregnancy. He married her because it was the respectable thing to do. She hadn't told him that she was a witch until after they were wed. She did this on purpose, knowing that his Catholic upbringing would not look kindly upon a divorce. She had been terrified: her parents disowned her when she had confessed that she had fallen withchild by a Muggle, and she had no friends, no other family to seek out. Her only chance of help would come from Tobias, and so in desperation she had married him before the lump in her belly had begun to show. The combination of a shotgun wedding due to an accidental pregnancy, and the revealing of her magical status, had made for quick downward spiral to the couples relationship. She knew that Tobias did not care for her, and she made no attempt to hide the fact that she did not care for him. He had always liked his drink, but he was worse these days. She refused to admit that a lot of it was her fault. After all, the child was his as well, and it was his duty to marry the woman he'd impregnated, and care for his child.
All of it was a mess, and the child wailing in her arms made it no better. She was not the kind of woman to find comfort in a small little being who would now have unconditional love for her. She did not want to be a mother, did not know how, did not want this life.
“What do I do with you?” She said quietly to the bawling child.
At the sound of her voice, Severus stilled. A few tears rolled silently down his cheeks, and then he tucked his thumb into his mouth, and began to suck on it.
“Happy birthday, I suppose,” Eileen whispered.