Perhaps, Rowan was starting to gain a stomach of steel because she found that she wasn't quite as green or as sick as she thought she would be on the trip home. Feeling a bit cheered up at that prospect that she energetically scrambled up the steps as she appreciated Dawn's handy work.
Great trails of mistletoe and holly wreaths hang from every corner enchanted to form wondrous shapes or tell a children's tale. Wearing holiday livery, Dawn happily greets them at the front door. "Welcome home, young master and mistress!" Before happily pushing a mug of warm cider and a soft roll into their hands.
"Thank you, Dawn," Rowan said as Severus merely grunted still feeling quite queasy. "You really outdid yourself, Dawn," Rowan added at seeing the inside of Prince manor as she took a sip of her cider and a bite of her roll.
As usual, the halls are impeccably decorated with tinsel toe, strings of holly, and hundreds of delicate glowing decorations. Although the decorations were slightly different this year in comparison from last year, the great pine trees were solely decorated with pinecones, red berries, tiny glowing like fruit with garlands of popcorn, and burning gold pillar candles enchanted not to burn the tree.
There were baskets of clove spiced fruit, small pots of poinsettias, and so much more. In addition, there was a lot more greenery than before ivy, oak, laurel, bayberry, blessed thistle, pine, sage, and yellow cedar.
Sniffing the air, Rowan quickly detected a warm, spicy like scent reminiscent of cinnamon or ginner snaps, frankincense oil. Blinking Rowan blinks around and turns to her grandfather, who hands over the twins' trunks to Dawn. "Do you like it?" Reginald chuckled at seeing Rowan's curious face and Severus's still green face.
"Is it for Yule?" Rowan curiously asked.
"Mm, yes," Reginald said with a smile. "Not many still practice the old traditions except for the pureblood families."
"Ah," Rowan said in understanding. "Well, it's a shame, it does seem quite lovely."
"It is," Reginald said with a twinkle with his eye. "Don't misunderstand, I don't mind Christmas as such as it is still a time for witches and wizards to gather together. But I still very much enjoy the twelve days of Wassail."
"You would brother," Georgine's sharp voice can be heard from behind. "It's in the blood given what a drunken wastrel our father was." Rowan blinks in interest at suddenly hearing about their great-grandfather. Even Severus looks up looking pale rather than green.
Eying the children, Georgine huffs, "Ye gods and little fishes, brother! At the rate these two are growing, we'll soon be in the poorhouse!"
"That's exactly what I said," Reginald chuckled earning a swift glare from the twins.
"Well, off you go you two," Georgine said with a wave of her hand. "You're to bathe and make yourselves presentable for dinner." Rowan and Severus shoot their grandfather and aunt one final glare, before leaving with their warm mugs and rolls in hand.
With the children safely out of sight, Georgine says, "Well, any changes?"
"They both seem fine, but I have heard rumors that Professor Adric seems unusually interested in the pair of them."
"That could mean anything, Reginald."
"I know, but still, it makes me more than a trifle uneasy at having an unknown teacher be so very interested in them."
"Well, they are superb dueler's if the letters are to be true and it is in their blood. The Prince's aren't exactly weak, to say the least."
"No, we most certainly are not," Reginald said, before turning towards his sister with a gleam of interest. "You will never guess who I came across?"
"Who?" Georgine asked with an arched eyebrow.
"What about the brat?"
"He rather politely inquired whether you would be attending the Malfoy official betrothal ball?"
"Strange, we're hardly friends. And why is that?"
"Apparently there are old friends who wish to see you."
"Tch, as if I would ever deem to call them friends. We were only in the same house for seven godda*n awful years!"
"Yes, well, nevertheless will you be attending?"
Georgine sniffs and says, "I might as well get my jollies whilst as I still can. I'm sure they've grown fat and old to have a good laugh at."
Reginald nods his head and says, "I'll inform, Sirsa. Though she wanted to attend, I think it best that one of us remain behind with the children."
"I'd rather it be you, brother," Georgine smirked, before turning away and departing for her own rooms. Reginald shakes his head and sighs as he makes his way to his own study. He'd have plenty of time to tell his wife. Or it was simply putting off the inevitable. Either way, he wasn't going to complain.
Later washed and dressed, Rowan sits on Severus's bed as she watches him pick out a jumper. "You know, they're all the same just in different colors," Rowan commented at his indecision.
"I know!" Severus snapped as he finally picked one just to spite his twin.
Rowan's lips twitch rather knowingly as she says, "So, what did you give Lily for Christmas before we left?"
"I have her a small gift just as I did everyone else."
Rowan resists the urge to slap her own face as she says, "Really? That's all?" Even Terry had given her a rather high-priced end book in thanks for saving him that past Hallow's Eve.
"Yes, that's all!" Severus shouted, before pausing at seeing Rowan's despairing face. "Wait, should I have gotten her something else too?"
Pinching her nose, Rowan finally breathes and says, "Severus, you give small gifts like that to your friends. However, for a friend that you truly care for you give them another. And we are both very much aware that you truly care for Lily."
"What should I do?!" Severus panicked.
"Look, we still have a few days," Rowan comfortingly said. "Just give her a book and send it via Owl. Given the weather, Owyn should still make it on time."
"Right!" Severus said as he scrambled over to his now half-filled bookcase. After a minute, Severus begins to panic again and says, "There's nothing here, but Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts!"
Grumbling Rowan climbs off the bed for a closer look at Severus's books. After eyeing the bookshelves, she just reaches in and plucks one. "It's a children's storybook, but I doubt Lily has it. I'm sure she'll enjoy seeing what fairytales are like for wizarding children."
"Okay!" Severus said as he bellowed for Dawn at the top of his lungs.
A soft pop is instantly heard as Dawn worriedly exclaims, "Young master what is wrong?!"
"Please some gift-wrapping paper and a bow, Dawn!" Severus begged.
"Ah, how very lucky, young master," Dawn said with a smile as she reached into the front pocket of her skirt.
"Dawn was helping wrap the gifts, yes. And had a bit left." Pulling out a nice sheet of folded blue wrapping paper and a silver ribbon from her skirt, she hands over said requested items. Severus all but snatches the articles from her hand and immediately begins to unfold the wrapping paper.
Rowan shakes her head and says, "Thank you again, Dawn. Sorry about Severus but he forgot to send a friend a gift."
"Dawn understands, young mistress," Dawn said with a toothy grin as she gently rubbed the small bulge on her belly.
Blinking with some startlement, Rowan carefully says, "Dawn, I don't wish to be rude, but may I ask a personal question?"
"Young Mistress would not be rude."
"Oh good, because I happen to notice you're slightly rubbing your belly. Are you know, er, expecting?"
Dawn beams and says, "Young Mistress is the first to notice. Dawn is only newly having little elf babies, but Hubby is very much aware. And after this joyful season, Dawn will let masters know."
With some awe in her eyes, Rowan says, "Then you should take care of yourself, Dawn. Let Tadbey do most of the heavy work."
"Dawn knows, but Dawn is only newly expecting. Dawn still has plenty of time before is tiring to do heavy magic." Dawn flashed another toothy grin.
"And when do you know the genders so to speak?" Rowan curiously asked as they hadn't really gone over house elves quite yet. And honestly speaking she hadn't thought to look ahead.
"Dawn can already feel the tiny baby's magic," Dawn hummed as she rubbed her belly in circles. "A boy, young mistress. He'll be bright and strong."
"Oh yes, he will be most happy, Dawn can tell," Dawn reassured.
Rowan slowly nodded her head as if she fully understood the response. "Best be going now, young mistress." And with a small pop, Dawn vanished away to fulfill her other tasks.
"Done!" Severus called out, before rushing over to Owyn with a parcel in hand.
With pity in her eyes, Rowan watches poor Owyn be given the parcel and thrown out from Severus's open window. Closing the window with a loud snap, Severus beams and says, "Well, that's that!"
"Yes, now let's go down, I'm starving," Rowan muttered as Severus said, "But we only just drank cider and ate some rolls not too long ago?!"
Raising her eyebrow, Rowan says, "Really? You're not even a little bit hungry, Sev?"
Slightly flushing, Severus says, "Well, maybe just a little bit."
"I thought so, now let's go," Rowan firmly stated, before leading the way downstairs where no doubt a welcoming feast awaited them. And really, Dawn always did out do herself.