It came as quite the shock on the following morning as Rowan stiffened as she read the front of the page of the Daily Prophet that was screaming for blood. With wide eyes, she read about the attack on a small town of Caithness in the Scotland highlands by the same mysterious group that had attacked the Malfoy's that past December. And unlike before a never before seen dark mark had been seen hanging over the village.
Ignoring Severus's arched brow, Rowan's eyes were glued to the front page as she desperately read it from her seat. She knew for a fact that this was Professor McGonagall's hometown. And also, home to McGonagall's two younger brothers, mother, and once upon a time muggle suitor, Dougal McGregor resided at.
With a sickening thump, Rowan read the list of deaths as her heart sighed in relief at only finding the name of Dougal McGregor, the once upon a time suitor of Professor McGonagall. It would seem fate couldn't completely be changed but unlike before this time, the two younger brothers of McGonagall were still alive including their entire family and that of Dougal McGregor except for himself.
Suddenly, Rowan's eyes froze as she came to the second death on the list in bold highlighted letters, Auror Sara Vinovich. Her fingers clamed around her fork and knife so hard that they were almost white. She had known there was a good chance of them all dying as she'd never heard about them in the future storyline. And the one that had for sure survived until near the very end was Alastor Moody, who still ended up dying. But still, to see the viable results gave her quite the painful slap in the face.
Murmuring some sort of excuse, Rowan excused herself from brunch and returned to her bedroom. No doubt the funeral would be held either today or tomorrow at the latest. But there was little possibility of her attending. The funeral was designed to be kept private by friends, family, and possible attending ministry members. It'd be a highly guarded event that would no doubt be highly restrictive of those able to attend.
There was little to no chance of her being able to attend the funeral. And even if she could, what reason was there for their doing so? Officially neither had any relationship to each other as Auror Sara Vinovich, would not have run in the same circles as her grandparents. Nor were they of the same generation to have a friendship much less have developed one given that she was still a student, while Auror Sara Vinovich was a long-term veteran Auror.
The rest of the day found Rowan rather quiet as she remained staring out onto the lawns in a rather pensive mood. She even went as far as to decline eating meals downstairs and requested if Dawn would bring a meal up to her room. The rare request was surprisingly agreed too, and as laid in bed for the rest of the day.
The next morning though still a tad quiet, Rowan was back at breakfast as though nothing unusual had occurred the day before. To her surprise halfway through the meal, her grandfather, Reginald abruptly arose and retired to his study. Even further strange, Dawn popped in to say, "The master would like a quick word with the young mistress."
"Heh, you're in trouble," Severus gloated as he ate his stack of pancakes.
Rowan sent a fierce scowl his way, before rising from her seat. "Please tell grandfather, I'm on my way, Dawn."
"Dawn will do so, young mistress," Dawn chirped as the sleeping baby on her back continued to nap as she vanished them away.
Still, in her pajamas and slippers, Rowan merely tightened the tie on her bed robe. Not bothering to knock, Rowan just entered the study. "Grandfather, what's wrong-?" Rowan froze at seeing the two pale grieving faces of Alastor Moody and that of Alphard Black.
"Close the door after you," Reginald said as Rowan quickly did as she was instructed.
Reginald rose to his feet and said, "Gentlemen, I presume that your being here has something to do with Auror Vinovich's death. I will not ask what, but all that I ask is that you do not involve my granddaughter any further. And though she may have the foresight of our ancestor, she is still a mere child."
The men solemnly nod their heads as Alastor Moody croaks, "Aye, Sir Prince, we are very much aware of that." Reginald doesn't respond as he merely stiffly nods his head, before leaving his office with a rather loud slam of the door behind him.
Rowan locks the door behind her and says, "May I borrow either of your wands for just a second?"
The tired dark-haired man with even darker eyeshadows than before weakly coughs as Alastor quickly says, "For heaven's sake, Alphard have a seat!"
Alphard Black's body trembles with the sheer force of the coughs as he brings a silk, white handkerchief to his lips to cough into. Unable to reach the chair in time, he clings to the study desk as he waits for the fit to pass. A speck of blood can be seen dying his pale lips pink as he hastily wipes his lips clean. Making a wry smile, Alphard weakly takes a seat before the concerned faces of Alastor and the child.
Looking even sicklier than before, Alphard waves their concern weakly way his hand. "It's merely seasonal allergies," Alphard lied with a tired smile on his gaunt face. "Here," Alphard said as he extended his cherry tree wand. It was rather ironic really as cherry wand owners were considered to be rather lucky but tended to not have very long lives.
Rowan gently took the wand before pointing at the room. "Muffliato!" Before handing the wand back to the staring figure of Alphard Black and Alastor Moody.
"And just what does that do?" Alastor Moody asked with a thick bur in his voice. Unlike before, there was another cut across the bridge of his nose now. His once wavy brown hair now had traces of silver having been cut below his ears. And though presentably dressed for the funeral to be held later that afternoon, his collar was open for the time being.
"My brother invented it, just this last year," Rowan honestly replied. "It makes it impossible for the conversation to heard by creating a buzzing in the listener's ears."
"But he'd only been a second year!" Alastor said in blatant astonishment.
Rowan shrugs and says, "He's quite literally brilliant. And he was tired of his two annoying roommates listening in on his and Terry's conversation. But feel free to use it, I do believe it will be quite handy in the field for the two of you."
"Yes, that is most certainly a handy spell as you so kindly put it," Alphard said with a tinge of a smile on his face. "And how did you know that using our wands would not gain you a missive from the Ministry for using magic during the summer?"
Rowan innocently smiles as she takes a seat before them. "Even I know that all students' wands have a trace on them. But an Auror's or an unspeakable? Now, that would be rather foolish on the Ministries part given the type of positions both of you hold."
"True enough," Alphard croaked as he tiredly leaned back in his seat to rest. "Shall we get onto business then? It's been some time since we've last met."
Rowan nods her head as Alastor roughly barks, "Did you know that Vinovich was going to die?"
Rowan makes a tired face as she says, "No, but I suspected that it would come to pass."
A mix of emotions flash over Alastor's face as he says, "And what is that supposed to mean." Alphard makes a wry face at Alastor's tone of voice but doesn't interrupt.
"In all that I've seen not a single one of us appears at the end," Rowan rather plainly stated. "If that is any indication of the future, it is that all of us will most likely die with Alastor outlasting most of us." Which was the frank truth, the only one for certain to survive the first wizarding war was Alastor Moody.
There is a long bout of silence as Alastor croaks, "Then are we doomed to fail?"
"Not necessarily," Alphard interjected. "We've changed enough of the future already that some of us may even survive until the end."
"That is a rather distant possibility," Rowan drily admitted.
Alphard's eyes flicker over the figure of Rowan that was taller than before. There were slight traces of lack of sleep under her eyes. But more importantly, a gravity that had not been present. And a most frightening of a certain detachment that only appeared after one's first kill.
"You've been prepared to die all along," Alphard finally remarked as Alastor let out a breath he had been holding.
Rowan turned to glance at the bookcase behind him rather than meet his piercing gray eyes. "The likelihood of my surviving until the end is rather unlikely," Rowan candidly stated.
"And I can certainly hope that will not be the case. However, at the rate things are progressing thatdoes not seem to be the case," Rowan admitted as the room falls into a heavy silence as Alastor turns to face the fireplace.