Hermione closed the last drawer a bit more forcefully than was strictly necessary, relieved to be done unpacking. The trip to America had been rewarding-- a whirlwind of conferences, parties, and food. They had managed to see New York, Houston, Los Angeles, and Boston. Hermione had loved walking around Boston. The sheer amount of history to take in had been fascinating. L.A. was deemed the least favorite stop, mostly because the smog and traffic were so severe.
Her husband had grumbled about the wisdom of traipsing across a foreign country with a five year old in tow, but Hermione knew it was just talk. Severus and Pip (Hippolyta was a bit much name for such a small girl) were inseparable. Pip’s favorite city had been Houston. She had been reduced to giggles by the Texan drawl of the locals.
Hermione’s favorite part of the trip had been in the same city. They had gone to a “bar and grill” chain where all of the waitstaff had been wearing cowboy hats and boots. The music selection had left Severus rolling his eyes, but Hermione had enjoyed watching the staff dance when certain songs came on. Pip had been in heaven, begging to join the dancers.
As they were leaving, the little girl had looked at her father with big brown eyes, dark curls an angelic halo around her head. Hermione had barely managed to restrain a chuckle. Severus was completely unable to turn down any request from his daughter if Pip really wanted it. That look was about to guarantee their daughter whatever her tiny heart desired.
“Daddy?” Pip inquired innocently.
“Yes, Hippolyta?” Severus replied. His attempt to put his daughter off balance by using her full name was all for naught, however.
“Can I have a cowgirl hat and boots?”
The relieved look on her husband’s face spoiled Hermione’s attempt to keep her amusement under control. The last time Pip had used all her charm, they had ended up with a pair of pink Pygmy Puffs. George Weasley never failed to inquire how the “mascots of Slytherin house” were doing. Molly had gotten in on the joke last Christmas; Pip’s shriek when she had opened two green Pygmy Puff sweaters had woken up several napping cousins.
“Of course you can Pip,” Severus quickly answered. “Why don’t we see if Mummy can find a store and you can pick some out?”
Two hours later, a sleeping Pip was bedecked in gold boots and a black hat. They had quickly become her favorite things to wear. Hermione had to admit that a five year old tromping around in cowgirl boots was rather easy to locate.
“Speaking of which,” Hermione muttered to herself, “where did those two go?”
A quick check of the first floor rooms in the house uncovered nothing but two napping lumps of pink fluff. As Hermione climbed the stairs, she began to hear the strains of music coming from Pip’s room. American Country music, as a matter of fact. As she drew closer, Hermione could hear her husband humming along with the song as Pip belted out every word she could remember. The lyrics began to become distinguishable from Pip’s enthusiastic singing.
She wears snakeskin boots made by Calvin Klein
And cheap sunglasses from the five and dime
All the other girls in school they give her dirty looks
She got an "A" in math and never cracked a book
Sure looks good in her denim and pearls
Rock my world little country girl
The smile that stole across Hermione’s face was nothing compared to the one that took over when she finally got to the doorway.
Severus Snape, tall and dark and imposing as always in his black and gray wardrobe, was holding his small daughter in his arms as they danced. Pip was wearing her now ubiquitous boots and hat, which matched the hat her father was wearing. Taking a second to admire her husband’s Transfiguration skills, Hermione wished for a camera as she watched the rest of her small family whirl around the bedroom. As the song drew to a close, Severus sat his daughter back on the floor and tipped his hat to her before vanishing it. The speaker moved to a different song as Hermione struggled to hear the whispered conversation that followed.
“Now remember,” Severus said.
“I know Daddy,” Pip replied in an exasperated tone, “I can’t tell Mommy about the hat or no more dancing.”
The rest of the conversation faded into the music as Hermione quietly crept downstairs. She made a mental note to get her husband a more permanent hat for his birthday.
He would never be able to say no to a gift from Pip, after all.