The trip to Diagon Alley had gone as well as expected before the two best of friends had said goodbye, and all while Rowan did her best to ignore the two of them. The rest of the following week was spent getting ready, before the arrival of the Black Family. It was early Monday afternoon when Rowan and Severus stood before the fireplace with their grandfather.
"Now remember to say, 12 Grimmauld Place, they're expecting us," Reginald carefully instructed them. "They're home is unplottable much like ours. The difference is that one can floo in and out from their home."
"In other words, Prince manor is thrice more secure," Rowan interjected as Reginald flashed a smug smile.
"Ladies first," Reginald with great courtesy said as Severus snorted, "As if."
Ignoring Severus's snort, Rowan says, "Don't mind if I do."
Grabbing a pinch of floo powder Rowan says, "12 Grimmauld Place," before stepping into the green flames. A whizzing blur later, Rowan lightly stepped out onto an old Persian carpet floor to find herself staring at the gloomy expressions of the Black couple. Quickly moving to the side, she reflexively stuck out her hand to catch the stumbling figure of Severus coming out of the green flame and pulled him with her.
Reginald elegantly emerged only seconds afterward as he nodded to the dark haired, gray-eyed couple. Sirius seemed quite excited as Regulus appeared a lot more subdued, but nevertheless his eyes sparkled with excitement. "Orion and Walburga Black," Reginald said. "Thank you for having us."
Rowan quietly glanced at the family room to see it in much better shape than before. The Black family home was still gloomy and dark, but clean and not yet moldy smelling. The portraits on the wall, as usual, frowned and glowered, but nothing like that awful screaming of Walburga's portrait in the future.
"It will be a pleasure for our children to spend time at Prince Manor," Orion somewhat truthfully said as Walburga's eyes flickered with distaste at spotting the twins.
Orion for one was eager to at least form a tentative friendship as Malfoy's attack had proved more than enough the power and capabilities of the old Prince. Walburga, on the other hand, did not wish to see her children become friends with mere half-bloods. But her husband had spoken, and she did not have much say in the matter any longer.
"The pleasure is ours," Reginald politely said as he turned to stare at the two black-haired boys. "Have you everything children? We shall be apparating straight to the station after the week is over."
"Yes, sir!" Sirius breathlessly beamed as Regulus quickly nodded his head. Regulus was a bit intimated by the tall, lean man who had stern features. And despite having been awe last time, it still was something else to be spoken too.
"Very well, then," Reginald said, before saying, "Tadbey!"
A few seconds later a rather solemn house elf in perfectly ironed, blue overalls and white starched shirt appears before them. Calmly adjusting his spectacles, the dark eyes blink at the Black couple with a barely hid sneer. "Yes, Master?"
"Please apparate the children onto the grounds, I shall leave on foot as I have business elsewhere in London," Reginald said.
"Yes, Master," Tadbey said in monotone voice as Regulus stares at the house elf in obvious fascination. While Sirius who had sunk quite often into the kitchen was used to the strange clothing of the Hogwarts house elves.
"Please come over here, young master and mistress," Tadbey instructed as Rowan and Severus both walked over.
Neither really greeted the Black couple as they had not been greeted back. "Please hold on to me," Tadbey said as everyone reached to grasp his arms as he kept his hands on the two trunks. With a loud pop, the children all vanished leaving the Black's couple and Reginald behind
Tadbey apparated straight onto the green grassy lawns before the large caste-like manor. Sirius lets out a gasp of awe and envy as he sees the large grassy expanse, while Regulus eyes widen at the sheer size of it. "It's bigger than the ancestral Black family castle," Regulus whispered in admiration.
"Nicer too, I bet," Sirius muttered under his breath.
"Please come this way, guests," Tadbey loudly instructed as the two trunks followed behind him. Fidel had just rounded the corner, when he let out a loud screech, before fleeing back the way he came. Leaving fallen peac.o.c.k feathers behind in his wake.
"What was that?" Sirius eagerly asked.
"My aunt's peac.o.c.k, Fidel," Severus proudly answered as they walked up the gravel path to the front white granite steps.
The grand front doors swing open to reveal the elegant, wealthy interior filled with lavish ornaments. Waiting inside the great hall are the two figures of Sirsa and Georgine Prince. The sturdy figure of Sirsa takes a step forward and says, "Welcome to Prince Manor. The Prince family is honored to host the Black's once more within these halls."
"We the Blacks are honored at the Prince's most graciousness," Sirius instantly said to the utter astonishment of Rowan and Severus. Who knew that Sirius even knew manners in the first place? Sirsa nods her head in approval as Georgine purses her lips in slight disappointment.
Pulling herself to her full height, Georgine stares down her long nose at them. "Keep them occupied and out of my side of the manor," Georgine grumbled with a sniff, before turning on her heels and walking away. Neither Sirius nor Regulus reacted as they'd heard worse comments made about them.
"Let Tadbey, show them to their rooms than the four of you may go off to play out on the grounds for a bit before lunch," Sirsa said, before turning away to return to her parlor.
"This way, please," Tadbey said as he led the two boys to a hallway down from where Rowan and Severus stayed in that held two beds. Sirius eagerly jumped up and down on his bed as Regulus murmured in an obvious apparition of the tasteful dcor.
"I'll be going now," Tadbey said and without leave rushed away.
"What a strange house elf," Sirius said out loud.
"Why?" Rowan asked.
"Well, he calls himself, I, and doesn't squeak like the rest of them," Sirius said.
"And why should he?" Rowan said with a frown. "He is a free house elf."
"What?!" Sirius said in utter shock as the insane statement. "But house elves love to serve!"
"He may enjoy serving, but he very much likes his own personal freedom," Rowan said with a frown. "Nor is he a slave and is entitled to enjoy his hard-earned wages."
"Well, I think it's wonderful," Regulus said with a bit of awe in his eyes. "But I don't think Kreacher would like that very much. But maybe, he'd like some nicer looking clothes."
"I think Kreacher might be too of a traditionalist," Rowan hastily explained. "Our house elves aren't freed by clothes. But maybe, leaving some coins around and suggesting he properly dresses himself. The Hogwarts male house elves still wear tea towels under their proper upper clothing."
"I didn't know Hogwarts had house elves like that," Regulus said in awe.
"C'mon now!" Severus impatiently interrupted. "Let's go have some fun!" Sirius eagerly bound after Severus as they two ran down the hall.
Glancing over at Regulus, Rowan says, "Do you want to go outside for a bit or read some books?"
"I'd like to look around for a bit, if you don't mind," Regulus admitted out loud.
"That's perfectly alright," Rowan said, before showing Regulus the grounds. And it was rather enjoyable too as he marveled over all the sights. Which made Rowan feel a bit sad at seeing his happy gaze. She wondered if much of Sirius's energy wasn't because he had been cooped up inside a dark, gloomy house. While Regulus's bookish-self emerged from finding nothing better to do but read. And that certainly did explain why an eleven-year-old boy had known and wanted to learn about occlumency.