The gala is in full swing as guests mingle and chat as musical instruments play in the background by a group of brownie musicians. Severus is hiding out in a corner of the room, behind a large Christmas tree after learning the hard way that older woman liked to pinch his cheeks. Severus's cheeks are ruddy red as he rather crossly picks at his plate of food and glances at the plate full of food beside him.
"Where's my plate of food?" Rowan suddenly asked from behind Severus.
Severus jumps and almost chokes as he says, "Here." Severus points to the plate next to him as Rowan ravenously begins to eat. "Where were you?"
"Over there and over here."
"Fine, don't tell me. See if I care."
"If you're like that, I'm not giving you your Christmas gift."
"Wait, what did you get me?!" Severus said with a curious gleam in his eye.
"Well, seeing as it's so boring, let's sneak out and open our presents!" Rowan excitedly said.
"Won't grandma and grandpa get mad?" Severus nervously asked.
"Maybe, but I doubt they'll take them back, it'll be far too late," Rowan cheerfully said.
Severus debates the complex idea for a moment before succ.u.mbing to the temptation. "Fine," Severus reluctantly agreed. "But if we get in trouble, I'm saying it was all you."
"Fair enough," Rowan said with a shrug. They sneakily creep behind the fabulously decorated trees and over to the heavy-laden food table. They underhandedly fill two plates and once more sneak out via behind the Christmas trees.
Reginald spots their sneaking figures and hides a knowing smile lest his wife spot the twins. "Ah to be young and reckless again," Reginald mused to himself, before turning his attention back to the boorish man who was prattling on about gods knows what. It is a terrible thing to be an a.d.u.l.t in trying times like these.
Nevertheless, Reginald persevered lest his wife force him to hold another ball. And frankly, Reginald could only stand one per year. And if he was lucky, Sirsa would forget all about holding one for the next five years. Because one could desperately pray that others would suffer the same misfortune as him.
Out in the family parlor, Rowan and Severus study the grand Christmas tree decorated with strings of mistletoe, glowing light blossoms, crystal-like spheres, and tiny intricate moving decorations. "Dawn really did outdo herself," Rowan remarked at the breath-taking Christmas tree.
"A-huh," Severus replied with a mouth full of food.
Rowan eyes narrow as she spots her target and says, "Found them!"
Carefully carrying their plates lest they spill, the twins set them carefully on the ground as Rowan grabs the first present and reads the name. "Nope, not mine," Rowan said as she tossed it over to Severus.
"By the way, Sev, what did you get grandmother and grandfather?" Rowan asked. "And Aunt Georgine?"
Severus narrows his eyes at the last part, but before he can reply, the sarcastic voice of Aunt Georgine said, "And what are you two doing?" Rowan and Severus whirl around to see the thin figure of Aunt Georgine in a mint green dress with a spring of holly in her hair as a decoration.
Rowan honestly says, "We've never had many presents before and so we just wanted to take a closer look at them."
Georgine wilts a little at Rowan's words and steps inside. Taking a seat in her armchair, Georgine flatly says, "Did Eileen and that husband of hers not celebrate Christmas?"
"Father was often quite drunk during the holidays and we could ill afford presents," Severus grumbled.
Georgine is quiet for a moment in thought before saying, "If that is the case, go on ahead and open them. I'll tell, Sirsa and Reginald that it was my idea."
"Really?" Rowan and Severus chorused in surprise.
Georgine's face softens as she mumbles, "You're only young once. Go on now, before I change my mind!" And that was as close as an apology that Severus was ever going to get.
Severus nods at Aunt Georgine as Rowan scurries around the tree and grabs a present. Trotting back to Aunt Georgine with a beautifully wrapped present, Rowan says, "This is from Severus and Me." Severus's eyes are full of guilt and gratitude as honestly speaking he had not gotten Aunt Georgine a single thing.
Georgine slowly opens the to reveal a beautiful pendant with a glowing amethyst stone in the middle. "The lady at the shop said, that was your birthstone, Aunt Georgine, it was enchanted to bring the wearer great luck," Rowan said.
Georgine is quiet as she delicately touches the lovely pendant and sincerely says, "Thank you." However, Severus's face seems to wonder, when did his sister even have to the time to go Christmas shopping? And frankly speaking, Rowan just wrote a letter to her grandfather to do her Christmas shopping for her.
Seeing Aunt Georgine quite pleased, Severus and Rowan proceed to open their presents to find mostly new clothes, books, and small useful items such as mokeskin pouch that can hold up to 25 sq. feet amount worth of items and can only be opened by the owner. Strangely enough, Severus and Rowan didn't get any toys, but Sirsa and Reginald had deemed it unlikely that the twins would even play with them. Which was true enough.
Finished, Rowan makes sure to leave the present for Dawn, a new apron next to the tree and that of their grandparents. Strangely enough, clothes did not free Dawn, apparently, it was something else. Which made much more sense for those pureblood families that choose to care about the appearance of their house-elves and not to dress them in rags.
"Aren't you going to open the rest of your presents?" Rowan asked Aunt Georgine.
"No, I'll open those later with Sirsa and Reginald," Georgine truthfully declined.
"Alright," Rowan said.
Georgine glances at the time and says, "Well, I best be going, but you two try to stay out of trouble."
"We will Aunt Georgine," Severus and Rowan chimed.
Georgine sniffs, before elegantly heading back down to the Christmas Gala. Georgine pauses in the doorway as Severus and Rowan's bright faces as the twins share each of their presents. Pursing her lips, Georgine throws her shoulders back and marches back into the Christmas Gala.
Making her way towards, Sirsa, Georgine pauses first next to Reginald, who is at the buffet table. "I let the children open their presents," Georgine briskly said. "The poor brats had never seen so many presents in their life and I very well couldn't allow them to sneak off to do so."
A slow grin appears on Reginald's face as he studies his sister's face. "I see," Reginald mused as his eyes came to rest on the amethyst pendant, he had selected for Rowan at her request. "Is that the twin's pendant?" Reginald asked.
Georgine turns away as the tips of her ears flush red. "Those brats don't have such bad tastes," Georgine grumbled.
Reginald hides his smile and says, "Well, they are largely good children for the most part, hardly any trouble at all."
Georgine sniffs, "Don't overeat like you usually do, you're not as young and fit as you once were." And with a stomp to hide her emotions, Georgine marches away towards Sirsa.
Reginald faintly grins at Georgine's retreating back. Despite being purposefully cold at times to keep people at a hand's length, Georgine had a good heart. "But did she have to say I am getting fat?" Reginald thought to himself as he glanced down at his slightly stretched sweater.
"Maybe, I should put down some of the biscuits," Reginald thought to himself but continued to pile food on to his plate. After all, it was Christmas and to start a new diet, one must at least wait until after New Year!