Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. In other words, I don’t own J.K.R.’s characters. Please don’t sue me; I’m not worth it anyway. Once I’m done, I’ll buy them dinner, several good bottles of wine and put them back where I found them.
AN: Silly fluff, caused by a wet plot bunny taking refuge from the rain. I tip my hat to Sepentine and agnes_grey. They are two, lovely people.
‘It’s just a word, Severus.’
‘Hmphh!’ Hermione’s husband hmphhed, his face a storm cloud of irrational irritation.
‘Her first word.’
‘Hmphh.’ For such an erudite, eloquent man, Snape’s vocabulary was proving to be somewhat inarticulate upon this occasion.
‘Your, our, daughter’s very first word.’
‘Pfft!’ he said, for some tonal variation.
‘Her first word, spoken, I might add, a full two months in advance of most other children.’
‘Fffff,’ he commented, adding a rustle of the newspaper he was nominally reading, for dramatic emphasis.
Growing tired of talking to newsprint and a sequence of lurid, moving photos, depicting the end of a somewhat scandalous society party, Hermione crumpled the pristine newspaper in front of her to the table. Quite deliberately she smiled beatifically at her husband. ‘A word, I might add, that was pronounced without a single childish slur or mispronunciation,’ she elaborated, in a tone that was calculatingly sweet and designed to raise a, hopefully verbal, response.
Snape cleared his throat and Hermione waited to see if this was all his new vocabulary would furnish, or if actual words would form part of his ongoing communication strategy. Not that she normally minded his non-verbal expressions. They were just usually confined to their bedroom, and rather more delightfully guttural in nature.
‘I am all too aware that Isabel’s first word was enunciated with perfect clarity and at a surprisingly loud volume in the Great Hall. I take a degree of pride in the fact that her primacy in so declaiming, at such an early developmental stage, indicates that she has inherited what would appear to be a high intelligence.'
Hermione reflected that her husband moved from inarticulate to verbose with the speed of a mongoose attacking a snake.
‘So, what’s the problem? It is, as I believe I have been saying for a little while now, just a word.'
‘I acknowledge the veracity that the phonemic construction is, in actuality, an assimilation of syllables that forms a cognitive image that conveys the essential meaning of its construction to a third party. However, I would have thought that you, from whom Isabel derives a portion of her intelligence, would have had sufficient wit to have perceived the problem, as you so deem it.’
Oh, she thought, 'I acknowledge the veracity that the phonemic construction is, in actuality, an assimilation of syllables that forms a cognitive image ... and used in cold blood. I do believe that…
‘Severus, you are jealous, just because she didn’t say Daddy first. Honestly!’
‘Am not,’ Severus said, his verbal dexterity reverting to that of a seven-year-old.
‘Wait here,’ she commanded and disappeared into their daughter’s bedroom, only to reappear with the sleepy toddler held in her arms. ‘Isabel, sweetie, can you be a clever girl and tell Mummy who that is?’ she asked, pointing at Severus.
Isabel, thumb in mouth, regarded her father solemnly. With a soft pop she removed her thumb. ‘Harry,’ she shouted enthusiastically. Severus flinched.
‘Jealous,’ Hermione concluded, her case proven.
‘Hmphh!’ Severus commented, reverting to noises as a form of self-expression.
‘I can understand why. I mean I was rather hoping for Mummy or Daddy or even the cat’s name, but for whatever reason, she didn’t say any of those.’
‘I am only too aware of that fact. I can only speculate as to the reason,’ Severus said archly.
Hermione chose to ignore the last part of his statement and whatever wild implication it contained, certain that it was a distraction technique. Instead she plonked their daughter squarely in his lap. ‘Harry,’ Isabel squealed happily, reaching for his nose.
‘But, I have noticed something else that is very interesting, Severus.’ He cocked an eyebrow in enquiry, having abandoned any form of verbal communication. ‘I’ll demonstrate shall I?’ she said, holding up a photo of Harry. ‘Sweetie, who’s this?’
‘Harry,’ Isabel said, enjoying the game.
‘And this?’ she asked, pointing at the cat.
‘And what’s this sweetie?’ she asked, pointing at the table.
‘Yes, our daughter would appear to be a linguistically fixated monomaniac.’
‘No, Severus, she is just enjoying being able to speak at last. The fact that she has started this early must mean she has been very frustrated. Honestly, Severus, it could have been worse. Do you know what James’s first word was?’ she asked, referring to Harry’s firstborn. Severus shook his head. ‘Shit. He blames Ron.’
Severus almost smiled. ‘So, to recap, she refers to anything that is pointed out to her in an identical fashion?’
‘For now, yes,’ Hermione said, noting that Severus’s speech pattern appeared to be back to normal. She didn’t think this was a good sign.
Experimentally, he pointed at the remains of his dinner. ‘Isabel,’ he said, ‘can you tell your Daddy what this is?’
‘Harry,’ Isabel stated as if it were obvious. Snape pointed at Hermione. ‘And, my clever girl, who is that?’
Snape was silent for a while. Hermione didn’t like it. Isabel giggled happily as Snape bounced her up and down on his knee. ‘Hmm, I have been thinking,’ He said reflectively after a little while. ‘It has been a little while since we had the pleasure of the Potter’s company for dinner. Perhaps we should invite them over ... soon.’
‘Don’t you dare, Severus Snape.’
‘Dare what, Hermione?’ Snape said in an innocent tone that would have made a saint weep. ‘I only wish to take a proper, paternal pride in my daughter’s linguistic abilities. I am certain that others would be only too happy to share in her achievement,’ he said with a guileless innocence that she didn’t believe for one second.
Snape got up and carried Isabel back to her bedroom, all the while he talked softly to her. To each of his questions the answer was the same, gleeful shout of ‘Harry!’ Hermione slumped onto the sofa.
When her husband emerged a little while later, having settled their daughter to sleep, he had a small smile on his face. Hermione didn’t like the look of that either. He walked over to the sideboard and poured two generous glasses of Tobermory. As he did so Hermione thought she heard him mutter, ‘Ah, the endless possibilities.’ Smiling more broadly, he turned and walked towards her. Hermione groaned. She had created a monster and its name was Severus Snape, the family man.
Snuggled, warm and content, inside her cot Isabel stirred slightly. Unheard by either of her parents, she softly mumbled, ‘Daddy’ in her sleep.