Severus Snape graded papers nightly, always watching his daughter play on the hearth rug before the fire, the flickering shadows making her eyes—his eyes (he still couldn't believe she had his eyes!)—glitter with some unspoken mischief.

His smile faded as his pen scratched across a student's paper, marking it with a long line of red as a sharp "Dunderhead!" exploded from him, borne of the idiocy of requiring students to write essays as the majority of homework as a basic unwritten Hogwarts Rule of Teaching, and yet, not requiring the students to learn how to write proper English. The only intriguing essays had ever come from his dear wife, who was currently finishing the dishes and laughing that soft laugh that meant she found his ire amusing.

Much to his horror (and his subconscious amusement), Hermione had managed to pass it on to little Emily, who cooed and giggled and sang baby songs as she played happily with her toes, ignoring the toys they had bought.

Severus gave her a stern look. "Emma-Jean, when will you ever learn to speak properly?" A crinkle of a smile touched at his eyes and the end of his lips. "You know you won't be able to write a nice essay in school without learning a strong vocabulary first."

"Severus, love, she's little more than a year old," Hermione said, coming to sit next to him, pulling his arm over her shoulder in order to snuggle into his side. "She may not learn to talk for a while."

"I refuse to raise a dunderhead," he said firmly, scowling as Hermione rolled her eyes.

Emily smiled coyly as she crawled to the edge of the sofa, attempting valiantly to pull herself up to her feet. Hermione and Severus watched proudly as their daughter struggled, cheering her on as best they could. Emily fell just before she made it, landing on her nappy-padded bum with a look of shock, unaware that babies fell.

Then she scowled, endearing herself to Severus more and more before uttering, to his supreme delight, "Dunnerhead."

Hermione raised an eyebrow and gave her husband a poisonous smile. "What have you been teaching our daughter?"

He stayed quiet, placing his marking aside and lifting his daughter into his lap. "Can you say that again, Emily?"

She giggled and squirmed in his lap. "Dayee dunnerhead."

Hermione burst out laughing. "Why do I get the feeling she could have said that all along?"

Severus had the grace to look guilty as Hermione sighed. "So long as I give her vocabulary lessons, I think this could work."