Feeling rather well rested, Rowan, awoke early the next morning to meditate as was her common practice. Tracing the energy within her body, she followed the pathways as she noticed with pleasure they had once more thickened. Not much, but still she would be able to teleport a few miles more.
With a pleased sigh, she withdraws her mind as she allows her body's energy to cycle on its own.
Withdrawing into her mind, Rowan continues to build Hogwarts in her mindscape. After the snake incident during the summer, it became imperative that she learn Occlumency. She'd been rather lucky in not encountering Dumbledore as of yet, but who knew how long her luck would continue to hold.
With that in mind, Rowan postponed any further soul research and began to devour every single book on Occlumency that her grandfather possessed which were several volumes. In every single instance, the best defense was to empty one's mind of memories and emotions. However, more talented Occlumens could produce a faux layer of memories and emotions to fool a talented Legilimens such had Severus before the Dark Lord.
Nevertheless, there was still a rather large problem, Rowan couldn't very well practice with her grandfather much less anyone else. And despite the fact that she is quite adept at emptying her mind of memories and emotions, there was always still the distinct possibility of torture or simply encountering someone who could overpower her like Dumbledore.
With that in mind, she came up with a solution. Rather than solely focusing on keeping an intruder out, she would rather plan for the inevitable failure. She would set up a layered construct in her mind and much like an architect she would build a level upon a level to fool the intruder into believing they had accessed everything.
With that in mind, Rowan began to build what she knew, Hogwarts and Prince Manor. But her plan would fail if said searched for information was found to easy, instead, she would hide memories throughout Hogwarts and leave recent memories out in the open. No doubt, even if her mind was broken into and hidden memories were found, the intruder would fail to find the hidden doorway to the next level of her mindscape, Prince Manor, where her true memories resided.
However, just in case, should that occur, there was one final failsafe, the hidden door could only be opened by another parselmouth. But more importantly, the password was one that changed on a day to day basis by her own subconscious. Even she didn't know the password until the moment she stood before the door.
Hearing the shuffling figures of the girls beginning to awaken, Rowan slowly withdrew from her mind and awoke. With a soft groan, she stretched in the cool morning air and climbed out of the bed to dress. By the time she had finished dressing, the girls were yawning awake as they struggled to get out of bed to dress.
Rowan waved goodbye to three still sleepy girl and descended down the stairs to the common room area. Taking a seat in a comfy chair, she sits to wait for Severus and Terry. To her surprise, the first one out of the boy's dorms is the nervous figure of Regulus holding the purring figure of Alchemy in his arms.
"Good morning," Rowan said causing Regulus to sigh with relief at spotting a familiar figure. "I take it that you slept well?"
"Mm," Regulus sheepishly said as he glanced down at the reason for his sound sleep purring in his arms.
"Well, you know, you could always get a cat," Rowan suggested as she motioned for him to have a seat next to her.
Regulus regretfully shakes his head and says, "My family doesn't like pets very much especially Sirius."
"Oh?" Rowan said with some interest. "I had noticed that he seems a trifle ill at ease with cats. Is there a reason?"
Eyes darting about, Regulus ponders on whether to answer the question or not. "Cousin Bellatrix can be rather callous at times," Regulus politely phrased his response. "Cousin Bellatrix once turned Sirius into a kitten and threw him out into an alleyway filled with stray cats. Mother and Father were absolutely furious, but they still forgave her as she said it was only a practical joke."
"Well, that certainly explains that," Rowan commented, before hearing a rumbling sound. Glancing over at the source, she sees Regulus flushing brightly at his stomaching grumbling. "Well, I suppose we best be off to breakfast, do you have all of your things?"
Regulus nodded as he gently placed the now sad-eyed Alchemy onto a nearby chair. Seeing Regulus struggling to not grab Alchemy to his chest again, Rowan rolls her eyes and says, "Ignore him. He'll just dart off to the girl dorms where he'll be smothered in attention."
"Oh good," Regulus said with some relief, before glancing about. "Aren't we going to wait for everyone else?"
"They'll be down shortly," Rowan impatiently murmured as she led the way to the Great Hall. Regulus still gawks in awe as he takes a seat in the Great Hall, before glancing at the breakfast set before them. Porridge, kippers, toast, eggs and bacon, and various types of omelets, beneath the enchanted ceiling, (which today was a dull, cloudy gray).
Grabbing a mostly veggie omelet with ham and cheese for herself, Rowan begins to dig in as Regulus carefully selects some toast, eggs, and bacon for himself for the moment. Glancing about he soon sees Dirk at the Ravenclaw table and waves, who excitedly waves back before being chided by an older member and told to eat his breakfast.
The two of them were mid-eating when Terry and Severus first appeared. "Well, the both of you are up early," Terry said with a yawn as he took a seat next to Regulus.
Severus huffed and sat down next to him as Rowan raised an eyebrow at his not sitting next to her. Severus merely glared back at his twin sister still holding a grudge from last night. Rolling her eyes, Rowan ignores him and continues to eat her breakfast.
Terry and Severus make small talk as Regulus feeling much more comfortable begins to chat and ask them questions. Not long after, the girls appear and sit across from them. Stretching Silvia takes a seat as Tiffany sniffs in derision and delicately only serves herself porridge and toast. Bethanie warmly greets them and says, "Did all of you sleep well?"
They all nod as Bethanie turns to Regulus and says, "Don't worry about getting to your classes. For the first two days, one of us will escort you about except for Astronomy, since it's at midnight." Regulus flushes as he ducks his head down but sneakily peeks at Bethanie with blossoming adoration in his eyes as Terry and Severus groan in frustration.
The two boys are interrupted from further complaining as the rushing sound overhead of a hundred or more owls is heard. Regulus gazes up in awe as the owls encircle the hall, dropping letters and packages among the chattering crowd. A rather familiar black owl flutters before him and drops a package before him, before flying off with a screech. Regulus flushes at seeing the six of them glance over at him.
"Well, that's just nice," Terry complained. "It's only the first day and you've got a letter. My sisters only write to me for gossip!"
They all drily stare at Terry as Silvia mutters under her breath, "That's because you're a gossip yourself."
Regulus quickly opens the parcel to find treacle fudge and a few of his other favorite snacks. Putting away his letter away to be read privately later, Regulus glances over at his older brother to find him staring at him. Regulus offers a weak grin as Sirius roughly turns away and begins to talk with Potter at his side.
Regulus's demeanor dims as they all exchange glances over his head. "Well, I would suggest sharing your treats with Sirius. But knowing his pride, he'll probably chuck them straight back at you," Rowan drily said as Severus nodded his head in agreement.
"But it's not my fault," Regulus weakly mumbled.
"No, but it's not his either," Bethanie kindly interjected. "Sometimes that is just the way things are with the older generation. But that doesn't mean you have to be the same."
Regulus perks up and says, "Do you think if I buy him some with my own pocket money, that he'll feel accept them?"
"It never hurts to give it a try," Bethanie cheered him on. Regulus beams and happily return to eating as all of them share a glance again. Chances are it wouldn't be that easy. And all likelihood, Sirius was still an arrogant Black. So, by sheer de facto, the kind gesture was doomed to fail from the very start.
Not long after, Professor Slughorn appears with the school schedules and begins to pass them out. "Well, it looks like we've got double Herbology with the Hufflepuffs and then followed by Transfiguration. What about the rest of you?" Terry asked.
"Same," all the girls replied except for Severus and Rowan.
"Don't tell me, the two of you signed up for the goblin course!" Terry said with appalled horror.
"Grandfather did," Severus somewhat gloomily said.
"Mate, there's no way you can take that insanely difficult course and still be on the Quidditch team!" Terry exclaimed.
"I know," Severus said with somewhat of a disappointed shrug. "I already knew I wouldn't get on the team, but still, I thought it might be fun to try out."
Rowan pats Severus on his back earning a glare from him. "Now, now, Severus it won't be that, bad," Rowan cheerfully said. "Why even Regulus is taking the course and he's only a first year. Not to mention, so is Lily."
"That's right," Severus said as his face visibly perked up.
Tiffany shudders in revulsion and says, "I wouldn't be caught dead learning Gobbledegook even if you paid me."
"Why it's an incredible language and rather useful to know?" Regulus said in utter bafflement.
"It's because it's incredibly difficult to learn," Silvia said with a shudder.
"Oh," Regulus visibly flinched thinking of the extra workload.
"So are Rowan and I the only ones taking said extra course?" Severus curiously asked.
The girls and Terry nod their heads as Bethanie says, "Gobbledegook though useful isn't practical to learn for the most part. On the other hand, the three of us did sign up for an extra-curricular course, Music."
"Rowan did as well," Severus grumbled under his breath causing the girls to gape in open surprise.
"Really?" Silvia said in disbelief.
"I'm taking Ghoul Studies," Rowan replied as the girls sighed in relief.
"Now that makes more sense," Tiffany said. "For a moment, there I thought you'd been polyjuiced!"
Rowan sniffs in reply as Terry excitedly says, "Anyone thinking of joining the Dueling Club?"
"The Dueling Club looks interesting at least," Silvia mused out loud earning a repulsed shudder from Tiffany and a wary glance from Bethanie.
"That's what I thought so too!" Terry happily said, before turning towards the twins. "What about the two of you?"
"I already am taking two extra-courses, I won't be having much time for clubs," Rowan flatly declined.
"And you, Severus?" Terry begged.
"I can at least look around, before deciding to commit," Severus truthfully replied causing Silvia and Terry to cheer.
Glancing over at the time, Rowan says, "Mm, well, I'm done. Are you done yet, Regulus?"
Regulus blinks and instantly stuffs the toast into his bulging cheeks. "I'm, done-."
"I can tell," Rowan drily said as the rest of them snickered at Regulus's squirrel-like stuffed cheeks.
Rowan pulled her book bag onto her shoulder and said, "I'll see all of you in herbology," before leading the scrambling Regulus from behind her.
"Well, that was usually awfully nice of her," Terry pointedly remarked. "You don't think she likes younger boys, do you?"
Severus glares at Terry as Tiffany interjects, "Well if she does, she could do much worse." Severus turns and glares at Tiffany, but Tiffany proudly stares back. "Besides he's a pureblood, completely loaded, and pretty cute. I don't think he's a bad catch to be frankly honest."
The other two girls nod as Terry says, "Well, I thought for sure that if she was going to go for a Black, it'd be Sirius. But I guess she likes them malleable."
"Sirius?" Silvia snorted. "Please, he's an utter brat with an ego that needs its own entire room. If Rowan was to pick anyone, she'd go for you, Terry."
Terry shivers as Severus ups his deathly glare. "No offense, mate, but liking or much less dating Rowan is like falling for a venomous cobra. She's all cute and shiny in the sun, but most deadly poisonous."
"Sounds just about right to me," Tiffany and Silvia muttered in an agreement under their breaths.
"Enough!" Bethanie chided them seeing Severus at the end of the tethering point. "No more of this talk!" Everyone quiets down as Bethanie continues, "Good, now then. Seeing as you are all so frisky. It'll be up to you, Terry to finish guiding Regulus for the rest of the day."
"Fine," Terry said with exasperation as he stuffed a piece of bacon into his mouth. The rest of brunch passed by quickly as they finish eating, before heading out to their first class of the day, double Herbology with the Hufflepuffs.