Title: Maternal Lamentation
Age-Range Category: One
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Eileen Snape, Petunia Evans, Lily Evans, Severus Snape
Beta Reader(s): A
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
Note: Bits of dialogue snatched from JKR during the branch scene.
Summary: Eileen hates that her boy chose the pretty one.
Eileen hates that her boy chose the pretty one.
Not that she knows much about either of the girls, but still. She sees them in his mind's eye when he doesn't know she's looking. It's the last remnant of her magic, that. Sees them around the neighborhood, too, when she's walking home from an early shift at the market.
But he doesn't bring them by the house—doesn't bring anyone by, but then, neither does she—so she crosses to the far side of the street and looks the other way.
She does this for his sake.
It's always the little girl with the red hair and the bright eyes, a child so beautiful that it physically pains Eileen to look on her. Her coat is neat and tidy, and she wears patent leather shoes polished with enough effort to reflect the world around her in them. This is a girl who is well loved and well cared for, a child whose mother can afford to stay at home all day, preparing nourishing meals for her family. A child whose father works hard to provide for his girls, and who likely reads them stories as he tucks them into bed at night. A father who doesn't spend the family's money on cigarettes and evenings down the pub.
She doesn't belong in a place like this, and she certainly doesn't belong in the company of her son.
She just doesn't know it yet.
Sometimes the blonde one is there, too. A long face, proportions all slightly askew, and a frown mark this child. Perhaps she is less attractive because of her looks, from the masculine jaw she inherited from the wrong parent. Perhaps her plainness comes from something deeper, from some level of unease down in the girl's bones, a dissatisfaction of being dealt the poorer hand. Surely, Eileen thinks, the blonde girl knows that she is ugly. After all, she always knew that about herself.
At times, all three of the children walk along the canal together. Eileen has seen them following the cement trail out of their neighbourhood to the unkempt park down the road. She's seen them there, too, running around the withered stumps and the rusted metal equipment, or swinging higher and higher above the line of soot that marks all the buildings in town.
If her son ever sees her when he is out with them, he never says a word.
She spends all day talking to folks who won't remember her. About nothing, usually, or about the weather, in true British fashion. About the headlines in The Daily Mirror, if it's a particularly chatty person or if someone in government has said something particularly scandalous that day.
'Hullo,' a gentleman says. 'How do you do today?'
'Quite the rain out there,' says another.
'Try not to overload the bags.'
The voices drone on as the cashiers stand at their machines, steadily ringing up bags of white bread, gallons of milk, and tins of mushy peas.
One summer day, Eileen walks to work to begin a shift at 10 o'clock. Along the route, she sees her son, who has been out of the house since his finishing his oatmeal and orange juice.
Though she is twenty yards away, she can still make out what is happening.
He is in the park, lying beside the little redheaded girl in the grass, and a small house of twigs has been constructed there, too, likely the work of the morning. It is fragile, but it has been built with care.
Eileen smiles to herself, pleased that he can find some joy for himself, however fleeting.
A bustle from beyond the bushes startles the pair, but Eileen can't quite make it out yet. As she walks closer, she recognises the blonde girl.
The girl stands to welcome her sister, but her boy leaps to his feet, shouting his accusations at the blonde girl who has appeared.
Eileen sees the girl freeze.
She stiffens in fear.
In fear of her son, a boy who has always possessed a tender heart, who crawled onto her lap with worn books when he was a lad and who pressed sloppy kisses to her cheek when she cried after arguments with his father. Still, he is growing farther and farther from her with each passing year. It won't be long before he's gone during the school year, too, but Eileen knows that his removal is for the best.
Her boy has seen his father make her afraid.
Why would he ever do a thing like that himself?
The blonde girl gathers herself together—she is, after all, at least an inch or two taller than the others—and puffs out her chest.
She is angry.
'What is that you're wearing, anyway?' she says, pointing a knobby finger at the boy's chest. "Your mum's blouse?"
As a matter of fact, it is hers. Or at least it was. Severus is growing at a faster rate than her budget can provide for, and she thought the shirt could pass muster over the summer months. She'd be able to buy him something new before the school year started up again.
Eileen blushes, holding her head up high as she wills her boy to walk away with his pride.
There is a crack as a branch snaps and catches the blonde on the shoulder, nearly knocking her off her feet.
The girl bursts into tears, and a trickle of blood appears where the rough bark had cut through her dress.
'Tuney!' the redhead calls after her sister. Then she rounds on Severus. 'Did you make that happen?'
'No.' He looks both defiant and scared, and Eileen knows beyond doubt that whether or not her son consciously did this, he did want to cause the girl distress.
'You did!' the redhead exclaims. 'You did! You hurt her!'
'No!' Severus insists, pleading with her. 'No, I didn't!'
Eileen now realises that she is standing in place, savagely still. Did she stop moving when she first saw Severus across the street? She does not know.
What she does know is that her boy is brokenhearted, watching the girl he admires running away from him. Eileen sees it in the collapse of shoulders and his gaze, fixed on her fleeing form. He looks down at the little house they had built together, pausing a moment before leaping into the air, smashing this shared plaything beneath his feet. He reaches up, grabbing a sleeve of the offending shirt she had provided for him, but that, it seems, he cannot remove.
She also knows that he hurt a woman—a girl. More than that, he wanted to do it.
Eileen cannot take her eyes away from him.
But she cannot go to him, either.