"Weird," Rowan muttered as Severus glances over at his sister staring out of the compartment window.
"What is?" Severus asked as Lily turned out to gaze out of the window as well. Rowan merely points in Sirius Black's direction. "That's just Sirius," Severus said as he peered in the direction his sister was pointing at.
"Oh! I see what you mean, Rowan," Lily commented. "You're right, it's a little bit weird."
"What is?" Severus exclaimed in frustration.
Rowan rolls her eyes and says, "Look at the boy following behind Sirius."
Severus gapes at seeing an almost identical, younger version of Sirius. "Is that his younger brother?"
"Regulus Black," Rowan replied as she sat back in her seat. "He should be starting as a 1st year this year."
"Well, isn't that nice," Lily said a bit wistfully.
Severus is fl.u.s.tered for a moment unsure of what to say, but luckily, he is saved by the compartment door opening. "It's an utter madhouse out there!" Terry Greengrass exclaimed as he stepped inside.
"Here let me help," Rowan said as she took Alchemy's basket from Terry's hand.
"Thanks," Terry gratefully said as he and Severus shoved his trunk into place. Wiping the sweat off his silky, pale brow, Terry says, "Is it just me or are there a whole bunch of awful brats this year?"
"Terry!" Lily chided, "It's just 1st years. We were 1st year's last year too!"
"Last year," Terry impishly corrected her earning him a roll full of Lily's eyes.
"I for one couldn't be more in agreement," Severus loftily said as he took his seat next to Lily.
"Really?" Rowan said with a raised eyebrow as Terry snickered and took his seat next to Rowan. "Because I recall quite a different tale about nerves and-."
Severus hastily leaps to his feet and places his hand over his sister's mouth. "Okay, okay, you win," Severus nervously said as Rowan smirked.
Quickly removing his hand lest his sister bites him, Severus scrambled back into his seat and wisely changed the subject. "Anywho, what do you think Sirius's younger brother is like?"
"Sirius has a younger brother?" Terry gawked.
"A 1st year, he looks just like him," Severus replied.
Terry shudders with horror and says, "Ye gods! And I thought having, one Black was overkill as it is!"
Lily rolls her eyes and says, "He doesn't look that bad! And he seems to be awfully nervous by the looks of it."
Terry stares back at Lily in disbelief. "I'll believe it, when I see it," Terry mutinously muttered. "If anything, he'll be a scary monster too!"
"Who's a scary monster?" Sirius asked as slid the compartment door open, having only heard the last of the conversation.
Terry pales as Rowan hides a smile but still comes to Terry's rescue. "Oh, just the new Defense Against the Dark Art's Professor."
"Really?" Sirius asked still appearing unconvinced.
"Didn't you hear? Professor Stricken drowned during the summer in his own bathtub," Rowan casually added.
Sirius fake shivers and says, "Poor guy," before glancing up at Rowan. "Anyway, come with me, Rowan!"
"I'm not going anywhere with you," Rowan wisely said earning nods of agreement from Severus and Terry.
"I don't mean like that," Sirius said with a roll of his eyes.
"Like what then?" Terry said with a wicked gleam in his eyes.
Scowling, Sirius ignores the question and says, "My younger brother is convinced that he'll end up in Slytherin-."
"He will," Rowan interrupted.
Sirius paused and glares at Rowan but is unable to contradict her given that she had accurately guessed everyone's houses the year before. "That being the case, he wants to know what Slytherin is like. And seeing as you've just clearly stated that he will be a Slytherin, the least you can do is tell him what it's like," Sirius pointedly suggested.
"Sure, I don't mind aiding a fellow house member," Rowan replied as she got to her feet.
The compartment is oddly silent as Sirius rather bewildered says, "Really?"
"What you don't think I would be willing to lend a hand?" Rowan asked as everyone shook their heads in reply.
Rowan purses her lips and grumbles, "I'm not that bad!"
"Oh, but you are," Severus mumbled under his breath.
Rolling her eyes, Rowan says, "Do you want my help or not?"
"Yes, please!" Sirius eagerly declared.
"Wait, just a minute! How come Rowan got asked, but Severus and I, both got excluded?!" Terry argued.
Turning to glance at Terry, Rowan drily says, "Severus has no patience to speak of and you have a nasty tendency to mess around with other people's minds. So no, I don't think either of you is suitable candidates to deal with an impressionable young mind."
A bit mollified by the response, Terry leans back in his seat. "I'm not that evil!"
Everyone raises their eyebrows and dubiously stare back at him causing Terry to crossly huff and fold his arms across his chest. "Well, I never."
Shaking her head, Rowan says, "I should be back in time for lunch if not order for me."
"Yes, dear," Severus mockingly said, earning him a swat to the head. Severus glares at his sister amid the snickers, before Rowan leaves and follows Sirius out.
Rowan pensively glances at Sirius as they make their way down the train aisle. Though at the moment Sirius seemed full of energy and bustle, there was something hiding beneath the surface. "Are you worried for him?" Rowan finally asked causing Sirius to flush.
"Who'd worry about that, brat!" Sirius bl.u.s.tered.
"Mm, and yet you searched through half of the train to come and find me," Rowan pointed out with a skeptically raised eyebrow.
Sirius dimly flushes and says, "The Blacks are always Slytherins! And Slytherins are full of dark wizards! But-."
"But what?" Rowan asked.
"Well, you and Severus aren't that bad and even Terry is a rather decent bloke. And the girls in your dorm are quite nice as well," Sirius paused to add in an awed whisper, "And your grandfather is the bravest person I've ever meet and he's a Slytherin!"
"I suppose that is a compliment," Rowan drily said as she avoided a trio of 1st years rushing down the aisle. The trio suddenly crashed into a pair of other 1st years, but rather than apologizing they giggled and ran off.
"Are you alright?" Rowan asked with some concern as she stopped to help the boy and girl to their feet.
The square-jawed girl with flaxen hair says, "Thank you, nothing but a bruise. But I think Barty needs some help."
Rowan's eyes widen as she turns towards the boy, Sirius was helping to his feet. Pale, straw-colored hair with a light spray of freckles across the bridge of his nose, Barty Crouch Jr. Swiftly masking her private contemplation, Rowan studies the boy to see that he is lightly bleeding from his knuckles. Reaching into her pocket she pulls out a small canned balm and says, "Here rub some salve onto the scratch, it'll stop the bleeding and heal the wound in minutes."
"Thank you," Barty gratefully said as he took some of the salve and carefully rubbed it on his scratch.
Putting the balm away, Rowan says, "And who might the two of you be?"
The square-jawed girl with light-colored hair says, "I'm Letitia Bones, and this here is Barty Crouch Jr."
"Are you related to Amelia Bones in any way?" Rowan curiously asked.
"Mm, Amelia Bones is my older sister, she just graduated from Hogwarts last year," Letitia explained. "I've got two older brothers as well. They graduated a long time ago."
Rowan nods her head as she thinks about the child before her. Amelia Bones by all accounts had two brothers and a sister all killed including her parents, nieces, and nephews. All that was left was a surviving niece the daughter of one of her brothers, Susan Bones.
Sirius interrupts Rowan's train of thoughts by saying, "It was lovely to meet you both, but we really must be going."
Letitia Bones nods her head in understanding and says, "That's okay, we're still trying to find a compartment ourselves."
"Actually, I know of an empty compartment," Rowan instantly said. "Why don't you come with us?" Sirius opens his mouth to disagree but a deathly glance from Rowan causes him to sullenly pursue his lips in reply.
"That would be greatly appreciated," Letitia said, before turning to Barty Crouch Jr. "Is that fine with you too, Barty?"
"Hm, let's go," Barty as Sirius sighed and led the way with two added towaways.
Without knocking on the door, Sirius slams the compartment door shut causing the two boys inside to jump. "I'm back as promised," Sirius loudly proclaimed. "And now, I'm leaving." Without even allowing, Regulus to reply, Sirius wildly dashes back down the aisle calling out for Lupin.
There is an awkward silence as the two boys inside stare at the three figures standing outside of the compartment. With an annoyed sigh, Regulus says, "Sorry about that, that was my older brother."
"It's alright," Dirk said. "I've got two older brothers and three older sisters at home. And they all treat me like dirt sometimes."
Letitia in the doorway pipes in and says, "I know what you mean, I've got two older brothers and a sister, and I'm always treated like a baby."
At her comment, two boys' glance at the square-jawed girl in the doorway as Regulus finally says, "Um, please come in."
The girl happily pulls her trunk in and says, "I'm Letitia Bones, a 1st year and the fellow behind me is a 1st year too, Barty Crouch Jr."
"Technically it's Bartemius," Barty mumbled as he dragged his trunk inside.
The two boys turn to stare at the taller girl with midnight indigo hair and eyes. "I'm Rowan Prince, a second year," Rowan explained. "I was asked by Sirius to come to see you, Regulus Black."
Regulus flushes as he says, "Oh, thank you, you needn't have." Before they can continue conversing the train lets out a warning whistle as the last of the gaggle hurries to board the train.
"Well, you might as well have a seat," Rowan observed as she leaned up against the compartment door. The four 1st years glance out onto the platform as they see waving parents and siblings' wave at them. Regulus is the first to look away knowing that his parents weren't present among the crowd. With the next being Barty, the two of them share a knowing glance, but neither of them comments on their personal family situation.