Late evening on August 31st, Rowan readies herself for bed and packs the last of her things for Hogwarts tomorrow. Feeling a bit excited, despite everything, she decides to step out for a bit of fresh air. Sitting on the edge of the patio staring at the stares she blinks in surprise at seeing a figure sneaking in the shadows. "Mother?" Rowan cried out as she saw Eileen stealthily creeping away with a carpetbag.
Eileen freezes and looks up as her guilt-stricken eyes meet the midnight black indigo eyes of Rowan. Eileen clutches her carpet that bag much tighter and whispers, "I have to go. I can't stay here anymore, Rowan!" Seeing her daughter not reply, Eileen continues, "I just need to get away for a bit to clear my head, my dear, I promise!"
Rowan slowly gets up to her feet and says, "Did you at least bother to leave Severus a note?"
Eileen stumbles back in guilt. "It'll only be for a few days, Rowan, that's all."
Rowan rather disappointed voice says, "We both know that's a lie. You won't be coming back, will you?"
Eileen opens and closes her mouth unable to repute her daughters' words, before finally closing her mouth shut in reply. Rowan turns away and stares at the brightly lit hall. "Stay there for a few minutes more or else, you'll come across Fidel on his nightly patrol," Rowan said over her shoulder, before vanishing into the bright manor as Eileen softly cries out, "Thank you."
From upstairs in her bedroom, Rowan watches the dark grounds until Eileen hurries away across the dark lawn with her carpetbag, before vanishing into the shadows of the woods forever. "You excited for tomorrow?" Severus loudly asked as he flops down onto the bed.
Seeing Rowan ignoring him, Severus frowns and loudly asks the question again. Rowan slowly turns around and finally says, "Sort of." Rowan tiredly climbs onto the bed and tightly hugs Severus as she buries her face into his chest.
"Rowan?" Severus sputtered in surprise and confusion.
"Just a bit longer, Sev," Rowan rather muffled said.
Hearing the strange tone in Rowan's voice, Severus hurriedly suggests, "How about we sleep together just like old times?"
"Alright," Rowan murmured.
Severus gently escapes Rowan's hug and hurriedly gets ready for bed, before climbing back into bed with Rowan. Seeing his twin sister so very still and usually quiet, Severus worriedly is reminded of the past. "Are you alright, Rowan?" Severus anxiously asked.
"I will be, Sev," Rowan quietly replied as she snuggled closer to Severus.
"Okay," Severus quietly said as he too wiggled closer for warmth. This was what they had always done since they were small. When they were cold or hungry or simply frightened by the shouts and screams. Rowan and Severus would hide under their sheets and snuggle as close as they could until they fell sound asleep. And so, they did, just like all the countless times before.
Bright and early on September 1st, Reginald accompanied the twins to King's Cross with Eileen most notably missing. With ease, the three of them pass through the enchanted wall and arrive on the other side onto platform 9 s. A scarlet engine waits next to the platform that is bursting with people. Smoke from the engine drifts over the crowd as the wrought-iron archway reads, Platform Nine and Three Quarters. The first few train carriages are already full of students waving goodbye, or even fighting over their seats.
Everyone babbles as cats' meow from their owner's arms and owls hoot form their cages. Through the indecipherable babble, Severus somehow manages to spot the ginger figure of Lily and that of her parents. Severus eagerly waves and by some unknown means of telepathy, Lily spots Severus and waves back. Severus rushes over with his trolley as Reginald quietly pushes Rowan's trolley and says, "About your mother-."
Rowan coldly interrupts, "I know, she left us."
Reginald eyes fill with sadness as he slowly says, "It's not your or your brother's fault, she just simply said that she needed some time to clear her head."
"Without us," Rowan flatly retorted.
Reginald is quiet for a moment, before carefully replying, "I had already suspected as much when you mother agreed to have your surnames changed to Prince and had us assigned as your guardians in the case of her absence."
Glancing over at the cheerful form of Severus, Rowan says, "Grandfather, please inform Severus at a later date, let's not ruin this day for him of all days."
Reginald nods his head in agreement as the two quietly stand there for a moment. "Do you think that at least she loved him, once?" Rowan suddenly inquired.
"I suspect very much so," Reginald truthfully replied. "For the first time in her life, Eileen fought us every step of the way, before finally eloping with Tobias Snape. Those two may not have been a good couple by any means, but I do promise you this, the two of you were born out of love."
Rowan gently reaches for Reginald's hand and give it a tight squeeze. Rowan smiles gratefully at her grandfather in silent thanks as the train lets out a sharp whistle at the time. Rowan gives her grandfather one last hug, before hurrying over to Severus and Lily with her trolley.
Giving Lily some space to say goodbye to her parents, Rowan pulls Severus aside and says, "Grandfather just told me that mother had to leave because she went on some urgent errand."
"Really?" Severus said with some suspicion.
"Mm," Rowan lied.
"Well, maybe, she'll come back feeling refreshed," Severus solemnly said. Although a part of him felt that there was more to the story that wasn't being told. But even so, he didn't want to inquire further into the subject today of all days.
"Yeah," Rowan ruefully said as she tousled Severus's hair causing him to glare.
Rowan's grin widens as they begin to toss their things onto the train, before climbing aboard. Seeing their actions, Lily hurries over as they aid Lily with her trunk and owl cage. Having successful boarded, the three of them head towards the back of the train to search for an empty compartment. After a careful search, they select a compartment towards the back, before tiredly settling down as they shove their trunks under their seats and carefully place the owl cages to hang overhead.
The train suddenly lets out a warning shriek as the last of the gaggle hurries to board the train, before the Hogwarts Express departs. Lily glances back one last time and waves goodbye as Rowan yawns and Severus rather shyly waves goodbye to their grandfather. With one last whistle, the train surges forward as the platform vanishes from view and the Hogwarts Express speeds up on its journey to Hogwarts.