The days swiftly went by as Rowan and Severus spent almost every day in the study with their grandfather, Reginald. Although in the afternoons, the two of them would head out to play. Rowan couldn't very well allow for Severus to turn into a weak bookworm like in the past. And so, as the days went by Severus was no longer quite as thin as before having been fed properly and a little less pale from playing in the sun.
One warm afternoon, Severus and Rowan cheerfully chased each other around the Prince manor in a game of their own making. Reginald grins to himself at seeing the twins playing from his study window. Anyone could tell that the twins had become the apples of his eyes.
Out of breath, Rowan and Severus mutually call a time out to gain their breath. "I'll be right back, I'm going to go and get a drink of water," Rowan panted.
"I'm fine," Severus said as he wiped the sweat from his nose bridge. "You go on ahead." Rowan briskly walks away as Severus finishes wiping his face dry with his sleeve. A bit bored, Severus wanders across the green lawn and around to the back of the manor, where there is a marble patio and moving hedge maze.
Reginald had firmly instructed the twins to not go inside as it was quite difficult to escape without magic. A bit disappointed the twin had relented and agreed not to enter the maze. Still, the open marble patio had interesting small hedge designs with enchanted sculptures that were always changing poses.
To Severus's surprise, Dawn is placing all sorts of sweets and treats in an elegant design. Seeing Severus peeking from behind a sculpture, Dawn says, "Is everything all right young master?"
Severus gulps as he struggles to hide his desire for a sweet. "I was just curious," Severus truthfully said as he eyes the many-colored macaroons.
"Dawn knows, young master," Dawn knowingly squeaked as she waved her finger at him. "But this is for Miss Georgine and Lady Sirsa's tea party. But if you just wait right here, Dawn will back in just a jiff with a small plate of your own."
Severus gratefully nods his head in agreement as Dawn hurriedly finishes placing the treats, before hurrying away. Severus decides to go in for a closer look and eyes the breathtaking masterpieces. Severus even takes a whiff or two as his mouth waters at the delectable smells.
"What are you doing?!" The raspy voice of Aunt Georgine loudly said.
Severus jumps back rather startled. "I didn't touch anything! I was just looking!" Severus explained.
Georgine puffs out a cloud of smoke as her dark skirt flutters angrily in the breeze around her thin ankles. "I'm sure you were picking at the sweets," Georgine grumbled as she sharply moves past Severus causing him to hastily step back lean into the nearby table. The delicately stacked sweats wobble dangerously for a second, before tragically falling over to the ground.
"Really?!" Georgine hissed as she raised her hands in exasperation.
Suddenly a cake smack's squarely onto the back of Aunt Georgine's head. "Don't touch him!" Rowan growled as she fiercely held another cake in her raised fist.
Georgine with disbelief touches the back of her head as whipped cake-cream slimes itself across her hand. "You little brat!" Georgine grumbled as she crossly took a step toward Rowan.
"Enough!" A cold voice said causing everyone to pause. "What is this?!" Sirsa Prince impatiently snapped as she walked down the marble steps in a sharp tweed dress with a single strand of pearls around her neck.
Everyone looks at each other as Georgine gets the jump on them. "Sirsa, they cannot be allowed to run around all amuck!"
"That is sufficient, Georgine," Sirsa dismissively aid causing Aunt Georgine's face to darken wither anger. "Now, go clean yourself, Georgine, you're absolutely covered in cake and our guests will be arriving soon," Sirsa ordered. With a final glare, Georgine stomps her cigarette into the ground, before stiffly marching to her private quarters.
"Now, what is all this about?" Sirsa crisply asked.
Rowan glances at Severus, who bites his lips in anger. "It wasn't Rowan's fault; she was just defending me!" Severus furiously exclaimed.
"Very well, but what happened?" Sirsa pointedly asked again.
"I just wanted a closer look," Severus seriously said. "I wasn't going to touch the sweets as Dawn had already gone into the house to get a tray for me. But that's when Aunt Georgine showed up and thought I had touched them. I didn't even have time to explain when Aunt Georgine moved past me and I hastily moved back and stumbled against the table causing everything to spill to the floor."
"And what is your excuse, Rowan?" Sirsa coolly asked as she turned to face Rowan.
"Aunt Georgine was raising her hand to Severus to strike him, so I hit her first," Rowan replied with zero hesitation in her eyes.
Sirsa furrows her lips in displeasure, "That is not an acceptable excuse."
"And how did I know Aunt Georgine was going to stop?" Rowan countered.
"Whatever do you mean?" Sirsa said quite startled. "Even if Georgine was ever so furious she would have never struck Severus and would have merely slammed her hands onto the table in a fit of anger."
"Oh," Rowan lamely said as she places down the squashed cake onto the table and glances around for a napkin, before wiping her hand clean. "I guess I'll have to go and apologize later," Rowan tactfully answered avoiding the question.
Sirsa is dazed for a moment at the casually uttered statement, before carefully probing further. "What do ever do you mean by that you thought Georgine wasn't going to stop?"
Severus and Rowan glance at each other and remain tactfully silent. "Rowan? Severus?" Sirsa firmly asked again.
"Show her," Severus quietly said after a minute of awkward silence.
Seeing Severus's relentless gaze, Rowan mutters, "Fine," and raises the left side of her hair to reveal a gruesome, scabby scar on her left temple.
Sirsa is deathly still for a moment as a rather horrified expression appears across her face. "Did-, did your mother allow this?" Sirsa hoarsely asked.
"Mother tried to stop it and most of the time it worked," Severus quickly said in the defense of Eileen. "But when father was too drunk-. He wasn't always so easy to calm down."
Sirsa is silent for some time, before carefully saying, "We the Princes may be cold and say terrible things to each other at times, but we will never strike one another. That I can guarantee."
"I'm back, young master," Dawn suddenly said as she arrived with a tray, utterly running the moment. "Oh, no! What happened?!" Dawn shrieked rather aghast.
"It was an accident," Sirsa truthfully said. "Worry, not, Dawn. I'll attend to the ladies inside until the patio is once more presentable."
"Thank you, Mistress," Dawn gratefully said as she places Severus's plate into his hands and magically begins to clean.
Severus quietly walks over to Rowan and remarks, "Grandma, doesn't seem quite so bad."
"Mm, yeah, I think you're right," Rowan commented back.
"Should we head to the creek?" Severus muttered after a second.
"Sounds like a good plan," Rowan frankly replied. The twins swiftly retreat to the creek to eat their snacks and play with the fish that have two tiny legs and liked to nibble on their toes. From reading, a copy of Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, Rowan had quickly recognized the creatures as Plimpy's. Which freaked Severus out the first time when Rowan tied their legs up and tossed them back into the creek and had been forced to explain the purpose of tying the Plimpy's legs up. And despite their adventurous nature, the twins stayed far away from the deep end of the creek as who knows what else could possibly be quietly hiding in the darkness.
But even when ignoring the deep end of the creek there were plenty of other things to observe such as tiny green stick-like figures, Bowtruckle's shyly peeking at them from the trees. With a few brave souls even going as far as to approach them and only allowing Rowan to hold them. Which made Severus furious as the Bowtruckle's would flee anytime he approached them. But he still had hope that with enough time the Bowtruckle's would come around because frankly, Rowan's knowing smirk was getting on his nerves.
And though Rowan found the Bowtruckle's cute and most of the woodland creatures endearing except for the fairies and electric blue pixies that were rather infuriating. At least the fairies merely fluttered around, but the pixies barred their sharp teeth at them and tried to play mischievous tricks on them such as pulling on their ears. Either way, she tended to splash them away with water any chance she got. Because frankly, anything with tiny sharp teeth gave her the willies. And that very much included the fairies, nasty little buggers, the whole lot of them!