It was the end of October and it had grown that much chillier. Early bursts of frost could be seen across the lawn in the mornings melted by the noonday sun. One such evening after dinner, Rowan and Terry played wizarding chess in the common room as Alchemy dozed across Rowan's lap.
Without looking up, Rowan heard the common room door open and heard known storming footsteps. "What's wrong now?" Rowan said as she took Terry's bishop.
"Nothing! Why would you even ask that?" Severus snapped as he slumped into a seat across from them.
"Fine, then," Rowan changed tactics. "What are you so excited about it?"
"We've been invited to Nearly Headless Nick's 480th birthday party," Severus snorted as he folded his arms over his chest sullenly.
"Wait, ghosts have birthdays?" Terry said as he glanced over at Severus, but not before taking Rowan's knight and causing her to wince much to his delight.
"It's a deathday party actually," Severus answered. "It's to celebrate the day of his death and birth of his ghostly self."
"Well, that sounds sort of interesting," Terry confessed. "When is it?"
"October 31st," Severus grunted.
"Well, I'm out," Rowan instantly interjected as Terry added, "Count me in as well."
"What?" Severus protested as Rowan and Terry continued their match. "Aren't the two of you supposed to accompany me?"
"One, no, we, and by we, I mean Terry and myself. We were most certainly not invited," Rowan most pointedly declared as she took Terry's queen. "And the we, you are talking about includes yourself and whoever was with you at the time, which I assuming means Gryffindors and that means Lily or Sirius or even both."
"You're wrong it wasn't just Lily and Sirius that includes James, Lupin, and Pettigrew as well," Severus stiffly said.
"Exactly my point," Rowan huffed as Terry cleverly put her in check.
"So, can you come with me?" Severus finally asked again as Rowan groaned as Terry happily checkmated her.
With a sigh, Rowan flopped back into her seat as Terry happily collected the wagered galleon. "I would very much like to enjoy the Halloween feast. And no, I don't want to spend it in a room full of icy cold ghosts in the already freezing dungeons of Hogwarts," Rowan firmly said as she petted Alchemy in comfort of her loss.
"And they say blood is thicker than water," Severus harped.
Rowan drily said, "It is," causing Severus to choke in anger.
Seeing Severus's thunderous expression, Terry sighs, "I don't even why I'm doing this mate, but fine, I'll go with you. But if I do this, I don't want to hear any more of Lily this or Lily that. I'm sickened tired of the subject and we're only in the second month of the school year."
Severus flushes and turns to glare at his sister. "At least I can count on my BEST FRIEND to always have my back."
"I always have your back," Rowant flatly retorted. "But I'm not about to accompany you to an insignificant event. We both know that you're only doing this because of Lily, otherwise, you'd even tell Sirius to go to hell."
Severus chokes at the curse as Terry snickers and says, "And that's why we're friends, Rowan."
Rowan rolls her eyes as she glances at the time. "Well, I'm off to bed, see you tomorrow," Rowan said as she gently rose to her feet and passed the still slumbering form of Alchemy to Terry.
Terry gently accepted Alchemy into his arms and cradled him to his chest. With a gentle smile, Terry whispers, "Silly fluff ball." Causing the slumbering Alchemy to protest in his sleep by rolling over but did not awaken at the exchange.
Terry and Severus had begun to chat when Rowan came back with a frown. "What's wrong?" Terry asked.
"Have you seen my scarf?" Rowan asked as she glanced under the table where they were sitting.
"Didn't you have it on this morning?" Severus said as he too glanced underneath his seat and the table.
"I thought I took it off in the library and put it in my bookbag," Rowan replied with a frown.
"Maybe you forgot it or misplaced it," Terry suggested as Severus slowly shook his head in response.
"Rowan never misplaces things," Severus said. "She might forget things, but she never misplaces them."
Glancing over at the time, Terry says, "It's a quarter after nine. Will you be back in time for the curfew?"
"If I run, I should be fine," Rowan said as she rushed out of the common room and began to run to the library.
Panting Rowan arrived fifteen minutes later to find Madame Pince staring at her. Wheezing Rowan tried to say, "Scarf-, have-, you-, found-?"
Managing to extrapolate Rowan's fragmented sentence, Madame Pince replied, "No, Miss Prince, I have not found your or any other student's forgotten scarf today."
"Thank you," Rowan wheezed as she held her side and turned back around.
Unable to run, Rowan tried to walk at a fast pace all way back to the dungeons despite her burning lungs. Rowan didn't make it very far when she felt something around her ankles. Glancing down, she saw a pair of lamp-like yellow eyes. It was Mrs. Norris, the skeletal gray cat of Argus Filch.
"Cutting it a little close, Miss Prince?" Argus Filch sniffed as he blew into a hankie. There was a thick tartan scarf bound around his head, and his nose was usually purple.
Unable to speak properly despite the burn in her lungs, Rowan breathlessly said, "I seem to have misplaced my scarf. I thought I'd head back to the library for a closer look, but Madame Pince said, she had not found a scarf at all today."
"Well, come along, I've found a few today," Argus Filch grumbled and paused at seeing Rowan blankly staring at him. "I'll not give you detention, but I'll make sure you get back to your common rooms."
"Thank you, sir," Rowan honestly said as she followed him back to his office. The room was dingy and windowless, lit by a single oil lamp dangling from the low ceiling. Wooden filing cabinets stood around the walls with filing labels of every punished miscreant. A highly polished collection of chains and manacles hung on the wall behind Filch's desk. It was rather common knowledge that he was always begging Dumbledore to let him suspend students by their ankles from the ceiling. A rather strange fixation to say the least.
Filch walked over to a large trunk that read, LOST AND FOUND. Unlocking the large padlock on the trunk, filch slipped his hand inside and pulled out a handful of scarfs and asked, "Are any of these yours?"
"No," Rowan replied. "Mine was knitted by my grandmother last Christmas. It's blue and silver with my initials in green."
"Well, then I guess not," Filch said as he dumped the scarfs back inside and locked the trunk with a snap.
The two of them are silent as an awkwardness fills the air. Rowan glances away and distantly says, "Is she well?"
"She's happy," Filch stammered. "They're expecting for next June."
"I see," Rowan faintly said, before bending down to gently scratch Mrs. Norris behind her ears.
Filch for the first time in his life finds that he doesn't know what to say as he crushes the hankie in his hand. After a moment, Filch finally says, "He'd had you both if he'd known."
"Maybe, but what is done is done," Rowan said as she stood back up. "I do believe it's already after ten, I'd hate to impose any more on you than I already have, Filch."
Filch stiffly nodded his head and said, "Follow closely," before darting out the door with Mrs. Norris leading the way.
Doing as she was told; Rowan was led to the Slytherin entrance corridor as Filch stopped a short way's away for her to speak the password and enter. Pausing at the entrance, Rowan paused to glance back, "Thank you," before stepping into the Slytherin common room. The room was utterly empty as shadows flickered across the floor with the lake waters glowing eerily green in the moonlight through the glass.
Rowan made her way to the girls' common rooms to only pause to glance back. Shaking her head, Rowan climbs up the steps and heads to her dorm. The girls were already tucked into bed, and half asleep. Sleepily Bethanie peeks over the covers and whispers, "Where were you?"
"I lost my scarf and went to look for it. I thought I'd make it back in time, but I didn't," Rowan explained as she began to undress.
"You didn't get caught?" Silvia drowsily yawned as Tiffany let out a soft snore.
"No, but Filch did accompany me back," Rowan confessed causing Silvia to fall out of bed with a thud.
Tiffany suddenly startled up and said, "Mandrakes can't fly!" Before wildly glancing about and saying, "Are the three of you gossiping without me again?"
"No, Tiffany," Silvia groaned as she climbed back into bed. "But seriously, Filch didn't take any points or assign detention for being out after curfew?"
"He really didn't," Rowan confessed as she buttoned up her pajama and slipped into bed.
"Wow, miracles do happen," Silvia mumbled as she laid back down.
"Well, either way, it's time for bed," Bethanie firmly stated leaving no room for argument as all the girls tucked themselves into bed including Rowan. Tonight, it wasn't a night for her to try to meditate. She knew she wasn't exactly in the right frame of mind to do so.