Christmas Eve, Prince Manor is filled with Dawn scurrying around preparing fat, roast turkeys, honey ham, platters of roasted potatoes with mashed potato and gravy, seasoned fried vegetables, tureens of buttered peas, cranberry sauce, Christmas cake, and much, much more. The Prince family members tactfully kept to their own areas and out of Dawn's way as she rushed through the house to take care of every single last detail.
During the holiday break, Rowan and Severus had mostly been spending their time in Reginald's study or playing outside in the snow. After lunch, Reginald had handed the twins a small pack of what appeared to be party favors. "Make sure to open them outside," Reginald sternly warned.
With interest, Rowan and Severus obeyed and went outside onto the porch, very warmly dressed. "So, are they like the ones, we use to get?" Severus drily remarked.
"No, I think these are literally enchanted to go off, so don't aim them at me," Rowan sternly warned.
Severus warily points one way from Rowan as the party favor goes off with a cannon-like bang as a slew of blue smoke emerges and surrounds them. Slightly coughing through watery eyes, Rowan and Severus see a poor toad appear in the snow that is frozen stiff in a matter of seconds, a flower bonnet, and a pink magical girl wand.
Rowan instantly grabs the pink magical girl wand and snaps in half. Severus eyes Rowan and says, "Okay," but doesn't question Rowan's strange, and very hasty reaction.
"So, onto the next one?" Severus owlishly said.
Rowan sighs at the look of childhood curiosity on Severus's face and hands Severus the rest. "Knock yourself out," Rowan drily remarked.
Severus carefully pulls his scarf up to cover his nose and aims the party favor away, before tightly shutting his eyes shut. After a few seconds, Severus opens his eyes to see a genuine pirate hat, a stack of magical poker cards, and a fluffy round thing.
"What is that?" Severus said as he pointed at the fluffy round thing.
"I think it's a puffskein," Rowan replied as she happily claimed the pirate hat and poker cards for herself.
"It's sort of cute, I guess," Severus reluctantly admitted as seeing the puffskein blink adorably at him with its round eyes.
"Maybe, but that does not change the fact that we'll be using them in potions class one of these days," Rowan flatly commented.
"Oh," Severus said a bit disgruntled and shooed the puffskein away with his hands. The puffskein happily bounds away and soon disappears into the snowdrifts.
A bit more excited, Severus continues popping the rest of the fantastic party favors and claiming most of the items for himself as Rowan had only claimed one other item for herself, a wizard chess set for herself. With glee, Severus took the rest of the items which included a book on fun potions, a pack of non-explodable, luminous balloons, a nose-biting teacup, and a pumpkin face box.
Cold, wet, and shivering after an impromptu snowball fight, Rowan and Severus trudge upstairs for a warm bath to get ready for the Christmas Gala. After drying her hair, Rowan put on a nice white long sleeve dress shirt, a silk navy-blue sweater, dark silk pants with black socks and dress shoes. She carefully brushes her somewhat unruly long hair and neatly pulls it back into a high ponytail.
Satisfied at her neat appearance, Rowan nods at her mirror reflection that impishly winks back, before walking over to Severus's bedroom directly across from hers. She paused in the doorway as she sees Severus torn between wearing an emerald silk sweater or a navy-blue sweater. "We'll be matching if you wear the navy-blue sweater," Rowan commented from the doorway.
Severus glances up from the doorway and curls his lips at seeing that Rowan is already wearing a navy-blue sweater. In reply, Severus instantly grabs the emerald sweater off the bed and carefully pulls it on.
Rowan faintly smiles as she sees Severus carefully combing his hair. "It was sad to think that this is the nicest Christmas of their lives," Rowan privately mused to herself. Shaking her head of such gloomy thoughts, she walks over to Severus's bed and sits down on it.
"How do I look?" Severus asked as he anxiously smoothed his hair and sweater.
"Hideous beyond belief," Rowan replied with a straight face.
Severus glared at Rowan and huffily turns away as he stares at himself in the mirror. "It's not like there are going to be any other kids other than us," Rowan yawned.
"I know, but I still want to look presentable," Severus explained.
"Fine, but that does not change the fact that this is an a.d.u.l.t's party," Rowan grumbled.
"You're right," Severus replied as he adjusted his collar for the last time.
The doorbell begins to ring as Severus says, "Well, we better go downstairs to greet the guests."
"That isn't our job, we're not even the host and hostess," Rowan unhappily grumbled as Severus drags her off the bed and heads downstairs to the front of the steps.
Guests begin to arrive as Sirsa charmingly greets them and introduces the twins. "My grandchildren, twins, Rowan and Severus, both in Slytherin," Sirsa proudly declared.
"How wonderful!" "They're quite the good-looking pair." "I've heard most excellent things about them," is what most of the guests replied.
The guests' nod in approval as Rowan leans over and whispers to Severus. "How much do you want to bet that one of these older women tries to play matchmaker for us with her own grandchildren?"
"No way!" Severus grimaced.
"You're on. If I win, you don't ask any questions, when I disappear during the evening. And if you win, well, I'll let you say, your end of the deal," Rowan whispered.
"Fine, but if I win, you have to go upstairs to change into a dress," Severus smugly said causing Rowan to shiver with dread at wearing a dress in such cold weather.
"Fine," Rowan agreed as she watched Sirsa continued to greet the stream of guests.
Not more than a quarter after a round woman in a fur coat arrives with her beanpole husband and says, "My Sirsa, those are quite the good-looking twins, you have."
"Well, they are Prince's," Sirsa modestly replied.
"Mm, why not introduce them to my grandkids? They're quite the lookers themselves," the round woman said.
Rowan leered as she painfully nudges Severus in the ribs, who sighs in reluctant exasperation.
"Maybe, later on, they're still only 1st years after all," Sirsa politely declined. The round woman sighs in disappointment, before heading off into the ballroom with her husband in tow.
The stream of guests finally begins to slow down as Reginald finally appears with red cheeks from the cold. "And, where were you?" Sirsa pointedly inquired.
"I was helping a few guests through the back door," Reginald said with a smile as he gave Rowan a side-glance.
"I'll be right back. Save me a plate of the good stuff, Sev!" Rowan hurriedly said, before scurrying off.
Severus stares in bafflement at Rowan's retreating back as Reginald bends down to whisper, "Girls are very strange creatures. You'll soon find that out."
"What was that?" Sirsa snapped having overheard the comment.
Reginald innocently blinks and says, "I said that, Severus, should not be bothered by all the potential matchmakers tonight. They're only children and we won't sell them off like in the olden days." Sirsa whacks Reginald on his arm, before motioning to behave himself as the last of the guests enters the hall.
"Maybe, Rowan had the right idea," Severus gloomily thought to himself after his grandfather's comment. With a sigh, Severus follows his grandparents into the ballroom as the Christmas party officially starts in full swing.