Morgaine smiled at her daughter.
‘I’ll try, little one,’ she promised and kissed Demeter softy on the forehead before she once more caressed the girl’s hair.
Black like the wings of a raven, just like her father’s.
‘Sweet dreams, child.’
Her smile faltering, Morgaine extinguished the candle on her daughter’s nightstand. Darkness engulfed her, but she did not leave the room, not even after Demeter had long since fallen asleep. Instead, she lingered, her eyes on the girl who gave her the strength to survive.
The daughter Severus Snape had never known.
They had never celebrated Christmas together. They had never roasted chestnuts, never made love in front of the fire. They had never even kissed under the mistletoe. In fact, Morgaine had not one single merry Christmas memory from her time with Severus. And still, she missed him so much this Christmas Eve that her heart ached and the tears burned in her eyes.
Tears which she was not going to cry.
They could be happy now. The war was over, and Severus had paid his dues. Free at last. But fate had decided differently and here she was. Forlorn.
She did not go to sleep that night.
She was tired, yes. Her body was tired and so was her mind. But she knew that she would dream, dream of the man to whom she had promised her heart and soul, her very breath. And as much as she longed to see him, she feared her dreams. For waking up became harder with every day. She wanted to linger in the world of dreams, where there was neither death nor war nor sorrow. Linger and never wake up alone again.
But awaken, she must, for the child she had borne.
Her whole body was aching, and she was so tired that she felt physically ill. She longed for an hour or two of sleep and was certain that she would not have any dreams. Her mind was too tired to produce images, just as her body was too tired to keep her steady on her feet.
But Morgaine kept on fighting, smiling fondly at the little girl who was unwrapping her Christmas presents. She would give her very soul for this child, the only proof of the love she and Severus had shared.
For his child, she chose to live.