With one final whistle, the train surges forward as the platform is pulled from view. Within seconds, the train speeds up and rushes off on its journey to Hogwarts. Soon London houses flashed past them as Dirk and Letitia turn away from the passing scenery. "Well, now that we are all back, shall we properly finish introducing ourselves?" Rowan coolly said causing the four of them to blink.
"Didn't we all introduce ourselves already?" Letitia said in bewilderment.
"Miss Bones, though rather kind of you. it was quite impenitent to not allow Mr. Crouch to properly introduce himself nor has Mr. Black, and the young man at his side had a chance to either," Rowan firmly replied.
"Oh," Letitia flushed in mortification. "I'm so sorry, Barty, I didn't mean to be a berk about it. Amelia's always telling me to think before I act, and there I go putting my foot in my mouth again!"
A slow smile appears on his pale freckled face as Barty says, "It's alright, there was no harm done." Slowly glancing about Barty clears his throat and says, "My name is Bartemius Crouch Jr. But all of you can call me Barty." The three 1st years nod their heads in acknowledgment as Rowan coolly observes the scene and waits.
Regulus and Dirk both glance at each other before coming to a silent agreement. Turning to face them, Dirk says, "I'm Dirk Cresswell, it's nice to properly meet all of you." Letitia giggles as a smile appeared on Barty's face. While Rowan's eyes widen in recognition of the future Head of the Goblin Liaison office.
"And I'm Regulus Black. And now that we've all been properly introduced, would you please reintroduce yourself, Miss Prince," Regulus proudly said.
Rowan's lips twitch holding back a smile as she says, "I'm Rowan Prince, a Slytherin second year."
"Slytherin?" Letitia said with a bit of frown. "But you don't look like a dark witch at all."
"Letitia! That's such a rude thing to say!" Barty whispered at her.
"But it's true!" Letitia protested. "Everyone says that only dark wizards and witches come from Slytherin."
"Miss Bones if that were true that would most undoubtedly include some of your pureblood ancestors. And yet I cannot recall a single dark wizard by the surname of Bones," Rowan knowingly said causing Letitia to flush.
Taking a bit of pity on the outspoken girl, Rowan adds, "Miss Bones, though Salazar Slytherin emphasized pure-blood mania, it was for a deliberate cause. In those days, it was a dark time for us magical folk as muggles killed many wizards and witches in fear. I can fully understand his desire to protect his own at any cost. I do not necessarily agree with his actions at the time, but I do understand the reasoning behind them. And if I may point out, our house did produce the greatest wizard and muggle protector of all time, Merlin Ambrosius."
"That's exactly what I always say!" Regulus interrupted in reverent awe.
Letitia bows her head in apology. "I guess you're right, Miss Prince. I really hadn't thought about it that way. But aren't there some mean, Slytherins? My older sister and brothers told me to watch out for the Slytherins."
"That is true for every single house, Miss Bones," Rowan replied. "There will always be those that bully and those that don't. And even then, there are bound to be some disagreements as only is natural."
Barty nods his head sagely and says, "There are those that pretend to be nice, but secretly whisper behind your back. And there are those that can be trusted despite being so very different. At least that's what my mother says."
"Your mother is very wise, Barty," Rowan said in agreement.
"But what about if they're muggleborn wizards?" Regulus protested.
"Oh?" Rowan said with a raised eyebrow. "I do believe that won't be a problem for you, Mr. Black."
"Huh?" Regulus furrowed his brow.
Glancing at Dirk Cresswell, Rowan says, "Well, I do believe that your first friend is a muggleborn wizard as you say."
"What?!" Regulus said in utter shock as he gaped openly at Dirk at his side. "But-. But Dirk's so smart! He doesn't seem like a muggleborn at all!"
"Thank you, I think," Dirk murmured back. "And what's a muggleborn?"
"Mr. Cresswell, it means that you are not born from neither one nor two magical parents. But rather, you were born to those without wizard ancestry," Rowan explained.
"Well, that shouldn't really matter," Dirk argued. "I mean I've got magic, don't I? What's the problem?" The other three 1st years are suddenly stumped by the question as they never had really thought about it. Despite their being purebloods, they always considered themselves as apart even if they became friends. But if a wizard was meant to have magic and said other wizard had magic than what exactly did blood purity really mean at all?
"A most excellent question, Mr. Cresswell," Rowan said in utter agreement. "But enough about politics, perhaps, for another time. And though I am enjoying the company of the four of you. I have my brother and friends waiting for me back at my own compartment."
"Brother?" Letitia perked up. "Miss Prince, do you have a twin brother?"
"Yes, he's my younger brother so to speak," Rowan quickly replied, not giving Letitia a chance to speak. "Regulus, if I may call you by your first name, what questions do you have for me?"
"Yes, that would be fine. As for my questions, um, what's the house like?" Regulus nervously asked.
"Well, we have excellent academics and athletics. The common room area is used for both fun and studying. And there is always the library and study hall areas to study in more silent areas. As for making friends, I do believe you're well on your way to having already made some, Regulus," Rowan said as she glanced at the three children at his side. "And though I believe, they'll be in different houses, I do not think that is a problem at all. My brother and I both have a childhood friend, Lily, who is a muggleborn witch in Gryffindor. And despite our house rivalries, we still remain friends."
Regulus lets out a small sigh of relief as Letitia says, "Is it true that different houses can now eat together?"
"It's always been that way, it's simply that no one had elected to do so before," Rowan bluntly stated. "However, that exception only applies during lunch. As both dinner and breakfast are required to be eaten at House tables."
The four of them let out sighs of disappointment as Regulus adds, "By the way, um, can I call you, Rowan?' Seeing Rowan nod her head in reply, Regulus continues, "Sirius said, that you could accurately guess someone's house. Is that true?"
Rowan privately curses Sirius to the eighth pit of hell. Before collecting herself and saying, "Mostly."
"So, you're absolutely certain, I'll be in Slytherin?" Regulus asked.
"Positive," Rowan deadpanned.
"Wait, what about me?" Letitia excitedly asked as she waved her hand in the air.
Narrowing her eyes, Rowan privately prays to anyone that is listening and uses all her skills of psychology and deduction at her disposal. "Gryffindor," Rowan finally said after a minute.
"I knew it!" Letitia explained. "Mostly everyone in the family is a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, but every now and then we get a Gryffindor or Slytherin. But I'm so glad it's me!" Regulus does not seem very impressed, but nevertheless he holds his tongue and congratulates Letitia as the other two boys did.
"What about me?" Dirk happily asked.
"Ravenclaw," Rowan instantly said already knowing his house. Dirk makes a fist of delight, while Regulus nods in approval.
"And what about me?" Barty finally spoke up.
Rowan's stomach sinks even further. This was a tricky one. Theoretically, he was a Slytherin, but he also could have been a Hufflepuff. "It could go either way," Rowan finally admitted out loud.
"Huh?" The four of them said.
"Well, Barty, you're a rare individual who possesses multiple qualities of a house. As a Slytherin, you're ambitious, determined, clever, and resourceful. But you also possess the qualities of a Hufflepuff, dedication, hardworking, loyalty, and patience. In this case, I do believe it'll be up to you to decide, Barty Crouch," Rowan plainly stated.
Barty furrows his brows and says, "And which house do you suggest?"
"It's not my choice to make," Rowan honestly said. "The question is rather whom you wish to be, Barty? If it is the path to please your father than Slytherin will well serve those ambitions well. But should you wish to become your own man, Barty, then Hufflepuff is the place to be."
Barty blinks in surprise at being given a chance. It was the first time. Barty is silent for a moment, before saying, "Will the sorting hat take into account my choice."
"It always does," Rowan mused as she thought about a certain green-eyed boy who had that exact same conversation with the sorting hat.
Barty nods in satisfaction as Letitia jealously says, "You're so lucky, Barty!" Causing Barty to sputter in confusion as she says, "Not only do you fit in one house but two! No fair!"
Barty chokes and says, "I don't think that's what it means, Letitia."
Huffing Letitia puts her hands on her h.i.p.s. "Oh, then what does it mean, Barty? Because from my point of view, two founders think you're bloody brilliant. That's one more than all of us combined!"
Flushing with embarrassment Barty shakes his head as Letitia continues to mercilessly tease him. Seeing Regulus and Dirk intervening to save Barty, Rowan says, "Well, I'll be leaving now, do have fun."
"Wait!" Regulus said causing Rowan to glance back. "Um, if I do get into Slytherin as you say and if I don't know anyone at the table, can I sit with you?"
"That'll be fine, I'll introduce you," Rowan said, before putting her hand into her pocket. Tossing a pack of cards at Dirk, who easily catches them they all stare in surprise. "For heaven's sake, have some fun, and stop worrying so much," Rowan pointed at the pack of self-shuffling cards, before leaving the compartment.
The compartment door closes with a snap as Letitia says, "I like her. She's like my older sister, a bit cold, but nice." Bertie nods his head in agreement as he looks at his scratched hand that was now all healed up.
"Of course, she is," Regulus proudly said. "She's a Slytherin."
Letitia and everyone else rolls their eyes as Dirk opens the card pack. The cards instantly burst out and shuffle themselves as Dirk asks, "Well, what shall we play? Anyone know Goldfish?"
"Goldfish? Is that not some sort of muggle pet?" Regulus asked.
"Yes, but that's not the point," Dirk exclaimed, before explaining the game. By the end of three matches, it became obvious that Regulus was either cheating or he was literally incredibly lucky. Either way, each of them lost a fair amount of money and items to Regulus Black.