Let me begin with how much I love this story. It’s so wonderfully describing Christmas seen by two children as well as the rather stiff and cold traditions of the Black family.
I adore the way you started. You begin with both boys in the early morning, and the way Regulus pokes Sirius to get up reminds me of what my younger sister used to do when we were little. It draws me in immediately because I can rely to what both boys feel, and I get excited, too.
When reading on, I discover small but beautiful details like The sky outside slowly started to lighten as dawn came closer. The two boys were still sitting in their beds wearing their pyjamas, surrounded by ripped wrapping paper and piles of toys. It adds more to the lovely scene you’ve drawn until now, but with Kreacher’s entrance, this peaceful morning finds an end:
In their house, breakfast was served at half past seven each morning, and they all had to be sitting at the table by then. Being late was not an option.
Now the real Black Christmas begins, and these two sentences convey that in a simple yet subtle way. Also, this already gives us inside into the rules of the boys’ life – another detail enriching the story in a very charming way.
I also like the way you described the Black sisters. I could easily imagine myself sitting in the drawing room when they enter and see them standing there. And the way that Bella and Sirius stare at each other until the older girl turns away conveys two things to me: Firstly, they didn’t like each other very much despite being blood relatives, and secondly, with Bella looking away, it shows that Sirius was the stronger one of both despite him being younger. He’d already been powerful, as the heir, and I love the subtle way you showed that.
However, the silent and stiff atmosphere that has by now grabbed my heart, too (but not in a negative way), is lightened up again when Uncle Alphard appeared. Sirius clearly loved him, giving him a hug right away. Sirius jumped into them, giving his uncle a hug, but Regulus hung back, glancing at his parents nervously. They didn’t really approve of showing outright affection, such as hugging and whatnot. I love that you wove those two sentences into the paragraph. It’s beautiful and again rich in details, telling me a lot about how Blacks raise their children. Simply brilliant.
The exchanges between Sirius and Bella and later between Andromeda and Sirius are lovely to read. They tell so much between the actually spoken words about their relationships, the characters’ feelings, and I adore the way you characterised them all. Sirius is spot on, like I imagine him to have been at that age. Also, the sisters, first and foremost Bella and Andromeda, are characterised in a very good way. It adds to their beliefs, their education, to how they turn out years later.
Though, I wonder if any of the children would have used “Mum” or “Dad” when talking to or about their parents. I myself have always imagined them to be more the kind of people who say “Mother” and “Father”, because it adds even more to the Black’s belief of being practically royal. They feel like aristocrats, and saying “Mum” and “Dad” takes that feel a bit away, in my opinion.
Also, at the beginning, there are these two sentences:
‘Really? Wow! Thanks! This’ll be so much fun ... just wait until Bella hears you have a broomstick ...’ he kept talking, but Sirius was no longer listening.
Here the “he” after you close the speech should be capitalised. The ellipsis at the end of the speech shows that Regulus keeps babbling on, so you don’t need a dialogue narrative. The sentence afterwards can stand alone, so the beginning should to be capitalised.
But other than what I already said, I most of all love the relationship Sirius and Regulus have in the story. It’s very brotherly, and I’m in awe how you convey that. It’s brilliant, and I love it. And my absolutely favourite part of the one-shot is this one:
‘Eat your vegetables, Reg,’ Andromeda teased, when her cousin ate just his roast and left the vegetables sitting on the plate. He scowled at her, and she grinned back, taking a bite of her carrots. He raised a forkful of beans and aimed it at her. Bellatrix raised an eyebrow, waiting to see where this would lead.
‘Whoa,’ Dromeda said. ‘Put the fork down, Regulus.’ She glanced at her parents nervously; they were roaring with laughter over a joke someone had just told. However, Sirius doubted they would be so happy if Regulus started throwing food.
Thankfully, Regulus shoved his fork into his mouth instead, and gave them a smile filled with vegetables. They all groaned in disgust, looking away as he piled more food onto his fork. Dromeda threw a napkin at him playfully.
Thank you so much for that wonderful SPEWly Christmas present. *hugs*
Author's Response: *flail* Oh, thank you, Bine! What a fabulous review. I'm so pleased that you liked it so much. I was a bit wary of my characterisation, so to hear someone say that it's good just warms my heart. ^_^ I see what you mean about Mum and Dad - I just didn't think about it when I was writing, I guess. I'll probably go back and change it soon. Thank you again, dearest!