Rowan slammed the compartment door open causing Severus to look up from his book and Lily to smack her head on the edge of the window. Alchemy who was napping on Terry's lap merely yawns and rolls over to curl up on his other side. Wincing Lily rubs her head as Severus worriedly asks, "Are you okay, Lily?"
"I think I'll have a bump on the head later, but it's nothing but a bruise," Lily said as she winced at touching the sore bump, while Severus glared again at Rowan.
"What took you so long?" Terry asked as he moved his feet from Rowan's seat.
"Kids these days," Rowan sighed as she flopped into her seat. "So full of energy and questions."
Terry chocked and says, "You're only twelve, Rowan. You're not that old."
"Says you," Rowan grumbled back. Shaking his head ruefully, Terry returns to relaxing in his seat as he gently petted his sleeping cat.
"So, what's he like?" Lily asked breaking the silence.
Closing her eyes, Rowan feigns ignorance. "Who?"
"You know, Sirius's younger brother," Lily eagerly asked causing Severus to furrow his brow.
"He's a lot sweeter believe it or not. And I think he might actually be kind of cute," Rowan said with a yawn.
"Really? For sure I thought he'd be a rascal like Sirius," Lily stated.
"It doesn't really matter although, he'll be in Slytherin," Rowan sleepily murmured.
"How can you be so sure?" Lily frowned. "Is it because he's a Black."
"I'm fairly certain this is because it's Rowan we're talking about," Terry drily said as Severus nodded his head in agreement.
Seeing Lily's annoyed face, Severus quickly says, "Remember last year, Lily? Rowan did accurately guess all our houses."
"I'd forgotten all about that," Lily said with a tinge of a flush on her face
"Shh," Terry motioned with his hand as Lily and Severus turned to glance at the sound asleep figure of Rowan.
"She's been awfully tired as of late," Severus quietly said. "I don't think Rowan's been sleeping very much."
"Mm, the one time I slept in her bedroom, I awoke to find her sitting up and meditating," Lily whispered. The three of them return to their books and read quietly until the lady with the cart comes by. To their utter shock and surprise, Rowan sleeps through her visit as they quietly order and pay for their lunches.
It wasn't until they were long done that Rowan awoke to a start. "You better have not eaten my chocolate frogs, Severus," Rowan crankily said.
Severus huffed, "Even if I did, I paid for them, so they're mine."
Rowan narrowed her eyes into thin slits causing Terry to hastily say, "Severus is just teasing you, Rowan, we saved you a dozen and more!" Terry practically shoved a small basket with chocolate frogs and other pastries into her lap.
Cramming a chocolate frog into her mouth, Rowan sighs in pleasure as Severus quietly asks, "So, have you not been sleeping again, Rowan? Don't lie to me that you have, because your sleeping through lunch is anything but normal."
"I just had a nightmare last night and I couldn't go back to sleep," Rowan somewhat honestly and rather muffled replied.
"That must have been some nightmare," Terry observed.
Rowan shrugs and lies, "It's the start of a new year even I get nervous."
Terry narrows his eyes but doesn't call her out on her lie. Feeling a tad mischievous, Terry changes the subject, "So who do you think will win between the Appleby Arrows and the Holyhead Harpies?"
"The Appleby Arrows," Severus instantly said as Lily at the same time said, "The Holyhead Harpies." The two best friends stare at each other as Rowan chuckles quite evilly and applauds Terry for his ingenuity.
"The Appleby Arrows have far superior tactics and playbook than the Holyhead Harpies," Severus smartly concluded earning an even louder chuckle from Rowan.
"The Holyhead Harpies more than makeup for it in spirit and feminine ingenuity," Lily snapped back.
Both Rowan and Terry share a grin, before reaching for their chocolate frogs and enjoying the show. Needless to say, the argument lasted more than an hour and escalated to the point where neither of the two was on speaking terms.
Exasperated Rowan finally says, "Look you, two, are you really going to start the school year fighting over which measly Quidditch team will the match?"
Lily and Severus' fierce glares caused Rowan to hastily retreat and try a new tactic. "Just look at what the two of you have done to poor Alchemy!" Rowan pointed at the Oscar-winning Alchemy tearfully meowing in the corner of the compartment.
Instantly Lily and Severus feel shreds of guilt as they sheepishly glance at each other. "Sorry Lils," Severus wisely apologized first.
"No, I said somethings that weren't very nice. I'm sorry, Sev," Lily apologized with pink-tinted cheeks.
The two were gazing into each other's eyes as emotions were high, when suddenly a voice overhead says, "We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes. Please leave your luggage on board as it will be taken to the school separately."
Everyone blinked in surprise as they glance out the window to see the darkening sky. The four of them instantly climb to their feet as Terry coaxes Alchemy back into his carrier, while the rest of them put on their robes. With practiced ease, the four of them dress as Severus says, "I could have sworn it was only mid-afternoon."
"Me too," Terry mumbled in agreement.
With only a minute to spare, the train came to a stop at Hogsmeade station. As usual, the first years burst out first as the towering figure of Hagrid could be seen in the distance calling out, "Firs' years this way!" The nervous-looking first years hastily gather around like chicks as Rowan spots the four familiar faces through the compartment window. They quickly disappear as Hagrid leads them into the forest for the traditional journey across the lake.
"Poor fools," Rowan said, before turning away.
The rest of the students stagger onto the platform as the second-year students follow the older student to a dirt track. The rough track shortly leads to hundreds of lit stagecoaches. The students quickly climb on board as the four of them do the same. The stagecoach smelled faintly of mold and straw, but nothing too unbearable.
The carriage began to move but with no sign of horses. "Must be invisible horses," Terry concluded as he failed to see anything connected to the front of the carriage.
"Thestral's actually," Severus and Lily simultaneously said causing them to suddenly feel bashful for no apparent reason.
Rowan didn't speak as she studied the creatures that were foolishly called horses. Horse-ish, maybe, but reptilian as well. Completely fleshless, their black coats somehow clinging to their skeletons, of which every bone is visible. Their heads are dragonish with white pupil-less eyes staring. Wings sprouting form every wither vast, black leathery wings that looked as though they belonged on giant bats. Thestral's looked much too eerie and sinister to be anything but scary.
"They can only be seen by those that have witnessed death," Rowan muttered, but her words were to faint to hear over the turning of the carriage wheels.
All too soon, the carriage passed through a pair of magnificent wrought iron gates, flanked with stone columns topped with winged boars. "Lovely decorations," Rowan sarcastically grumbled as Severus and Terry rolled their eyes in exasperation. Not soon enough, the carriage finally rolled to a stop before the grand front doors as they all climbed down onto the cobbled stones.
"I can't believe it, but I'm starving," Terry said as the four of them entered the grand lit hall filled with silver suits.
"Neither can I, but I'm starving too," Severus said in agreement, earning eye rolls from the two girls.
Stepping into the candlelit Great Hall, Lily quickly spotted the already sitting figures of Willa Sands and Mary McDonald. "Well, see you all tomorrow," Lily said, before heading off to sit with her friends and dormmates.
"See you later, Lily," Severus called out the loudest, while Terry and Rowan murmured a goodbye.
The three of them strode off to the Slytherin table and took a seat as Terry glanced around. "It looks like the girls haven't arrived yet," Terry said as the house tables quickly filled.
Severus shrugs and says, "If you are referring to Bethanie, Tiffany, and Silvia, then no. Wait, why are you even asking about them in the first place?"
Rolling his eyes, Terry says, "Unlike one of us, I like to keep my options open."
Severus furrows his brows in confusion as Rowan says, "Forget about it, Sev. It'll just go over your head."
"Did you just call me stupid?" Severus sputtered in utter vexation.
Terry snickered loudly, before frowning sadly at the golden dinner plates. "We still have the sorting and a speech left before supper," Terry woefully whimpered.
Severus yelps sadly as well until Rowan pulled out two chocolate frogs out of her pocket. Looking much like wagging puppy dogs, Terry and Severus' gazes were fixated on the chocolate frogs.
"The both of you will remain silent," Rowan sternly ordered. "We're all hungry, let's not make this any worse, understood?" Severus and Terry nodded their heads as Rowan quickly handed over their treats. The two quickly unwrap the foil, but slowly nibble at the chocolate frog trying to make it last as long as possible.
From the corner of her eye, Rowan spots a dark-eyed boy with curly dark hair, the now 6th year, S.R. Wilkes. Quickly turning away, she feels a strange panicked sensation in the pit of her stomach. Frowning, she rubs her stomach until the feeling goes away.
Glancing up at hearing a ruckus, Rowan sees the ever-faithful marauders loudly bursting into the Great Hall. Shaking her head at their antics, she fails to notice the faint smile appear on her face. "Whatcha smiling at?" A voice said in her ear causing Rowan to almost flinch.
Glancing up, Rowan saw the teasing face of Silvia, followed closely by Tiffany and Bethanie. The girls easily crawled under the table and slipped to the other side to sit across from them. "You could have just walked around the table," Severus murmured rather unimpressed.
"We're supposed to be cunning, not hardworking, Severus," Silvia chortled.
Severus sniffs his nose in disdain as Terry says, "Well, I'm impressed. It was a practical response."
Silvia beams back as Tiffany tosses her hair over her shoulder and complains, "Rowan, you didn't write anything romantic back. I at least expected a love poem or something of that nature."
There is an awkward pause as Severus glances wide-eyed at his sister as if discovering something entirely new. "Your-, you, er-," Severus is unable to complete his sentence to his own utter shock.
Bethanie covers her mouth to hide her smile and says, "Tiffany won a bet last year and since she won, she said she wanted something romantic to be sent to her over the summer. She said, for us to pretend to be boys so at least that way she could brag to her French cousins that she had several romantic admirers."
Severus sighed in strange relief as Terry sadly said, "There goes that fantasy." Swiftly earning him dirty looks from all the girls.
Coughing, Rowan changed the subject. "I did send something back, Tiffany, jewelry."
"But that wasn't romantic at all," Tiffany huffed as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Shh! It's starting," Silvia hissed as she motioned for them to be silent.