Their arrival at Platform 9 's was a little different than normal as Severus stuck quite closely to Rowan, while their grandfather pushed her trolley. Severus had been asked by both of their grandparents to make sure to stick as closely as possible to Rowan until she made a full recovery. Apparently, episodes of exhaustion were not uncommon nor fainting as the still healing body could only take so much, according to Healer Lancelot Prewett.
The three of them made their way through the crowd as the Hogwarts Express, the scarlet engine smoked. The crowd is loud as pets cry out from their owner's arms or cages. The train has already begun to fill up as students wave goodbye from window compartments, while others hurry to find friends or simply a familiar face. "Take care of yourselves you two," Reginald said as he patted them both on the head and nodded subtly at Severus.
"C'mon Rowan," Severus said as he led her and his trunk over to the end of the platform. With a whirl of his wand, he levitated onto the train as Rowan slowly climbed up after him. Her exhaustion could clearly be seen written on her face as she felt her entire body ache to rest.
Severus quickly picked the nearest open compartment and put their things inside along with the owl cage of Owny. Owny hooted softly in concern as Rowan tiredly slumped into a seat. "I'll go find, Terry," Severus explained. "Just stay here and rest."
"Mm," Rowan tiredly said barely able to keep her eyes open as the compartment door closed. To be perfectly honest she didn't know how she was even going to stay awake in class. Maybe, a pepperup potion might help her. But then again, she didn't think some of her prescribed potions could be mixed alongside it.
Rowan must have dozed off for a minute because the next thing she knew the door was being opened. Blinking through blurry eyes she sees a figure standing in the doorway. She had to blink once more before she recognized the dark, curly-haired, seven-year, Wilkes. "Am I intruding?" Wilkes said with a good-natured smile.
Yawning, Rowan said, "Severus went to find Terry to have him come sit with us."
"Ah, I see," Wilkes mused, before saying, "You do seem rather unwell, Prince. Is everything all right?"
"I just caught an awful cold over the break. And I am still in the process of recovery. But what about you? Did you have any fun?"
Wilkes lips press into a thin line as if recalling an unpleasant memory, before a quick smile appears on his face. "I guess you could say that." Wilkes stiffens at hearing the voice of his girlfriend calling him from behind. "I best be going now. Take care, Prince."
Rowan sleepily nodded her head in reply, before tiredly leaning her head back in her seat to rest her heavy head. Wilkes must have left, because the next time she awoke again was to see Terry and Severus staring at her with a worried expression as the Hogwarts express had left the station. Blinking she gave them a sheepish smile, "What time is it?"
"Almost noon," Terry replied with a weak smile as he tried to add some lightness to the situation. Severus had told him about what had happened to Rowan. To be honest, he'd been shocked to find out how close Rowan had been to dying. It was a modern-day miracle for her to survive and much less retain her magic without becoming a squib.
And Rowan's weak condition did show in the next few minutes when the lady with cart arrived. Rather than ordering a dozen of chocolate frogs as she normally did, she only got two, a single pastry and something hot to drink. It was the least number of snacks either boys had ever seen her eat.
After the lady with the cart left, Terry tried to make a joke. "Do you know that you whistle in your sleep, Rowan?"
"So, I've been told by Severus and the girls," Rowan mumbled as she slowly chewed and ate.
Terry and Severus, both shared glances again as they quietly chattered for a bit, before watching Rowan fall asleep again. Making sure, Rowan was sound asleep, Terry finally says, "She doesn't look so good."
"I know," Severus sighed. "But she didn't want to stay home, and the healers cleared her. The bunch of quacks the whole lot of them! If she really was fine, she wouldn't be falling asleep everywhere!"
"Quacks the whole lot of them," Terry sniffed. "That's why I want to become a healer."
"Really?" Severus blinked in surprise.
"I know that I have both money and looks," Terry proudly said causing Severus to roll his eyes. "And though I don't need too, I'd like too. I'd like to make a difference in the wizarding community."
"And here Rowan and I pegged you becoming the next Minister of Magic," Severus said with a wry chuckle.
Terry rolls his eyes and loftily says, "Please I could run circles around those fools. And I'd much rather put my brain to good usage."
"Thank goodness for the rest of us," Severus muttered under his breath, before changing the subject. "So, er, I need your opinion on something."
"What?" Terry suspiciously said with an interested eyebrow.
"Hypothetically, of course."
"Hypothetically," Terry said with a straight face.
"I've might have possibly been asked to brew an animagus potion."
"And hypothetically of course, can you even brew one in the first place?"
"Grandfather had been having me brew all our required potions up to year seven," Severus smugly explained. "And though I didn't fare as well as I would have liked on some of them. I was able to brew all of them with either an acceptable or higher grade."
Terry lets out a low whistle and says, "Hypothetically, you're going to need to borrow said ingredients from Professor Slughorn's storage."
"I know, but this all hypothetical of course."
"Of course," Terry rolled his eyes not believing a single word. "And why would you be doing this great favor?"
Severus glances around before pointing his wand at the train compartment door and locks it, before muttering, "Muffalito."
Glancing back to stare at Terry, Severus says, "Can I trust you with a secret, Terry?"
"It depends will I get in trouble for it or suddenly be an accomplice to murder or to any other crime that will have be jailed in Azkaban?"
"That is strangely specific," Severus said with a frown. "And no."
"Go on, then."
"Lupin is a werewolf."
Terry chokes and has to be pounded on the back as he says, "If this a joke-!" Terry's voice trails off at seeing Severus's solemn expression. "Blimey, you're serious, aren't you?"
Terry's eyes race as he quickly connects the dots and says, "That's why he always looks so tired around the full moon."
Snapping his fingers, Terry says, "And that's why the Whipping Willow must have been planted as well! There must be some sort of underground passageway where he's kept during the full moon to protect him and all the students!" Terry lets out a low whistle rather awe-struck. "Well, color me impressed!"
Terry turns to stare at Severus and says, "Have you known all this time?"
"No, I only found about it through Sirius at the start of the year," Severus admitted.
"Good, because I'd be rather angry if you had kept this from me for so long."
"So, what do you think?"
"And how does becoming an animagi relate to Lupin?"
"Animagi won't be attacked by werewolves while in beast form."
"Of course! And this would allow them to safely approach Lupin in any event! I'm actually impressed with those three, I thought they only had Quidditch on their minds all the time! But if that's the case, you're going to have started gathering things now if you want to get everything finished and ready before Easter as that will be your last shot for this year."
"I know, but what do you think?"
"Why not?" Terry shrugged. "I mean, I wouldn't do it! I'm liable to end up as some sort of fluffy white cat."
"Strangely enough, I can see you ending up like that," Severus said with an amused smile.
"I know," Terry shuddered dramatically. "What dignity as a man will I have left after that?! I'll only forever be remembered as the boy who turns into a fluffy white cat!"
"Rowan said the exact same thing," Severus wryly said. "She said that she was liable to end up as some sort of snake. And she'd rather not be so clich."
"Personally, I've always thought she'd be a cobra," Terry sagely said as Severus nodded his head in agreement.
"Yes, just do it. I'll cover for you, just in case, but you better show me your animagus form," Terry paused. "You are going to do it, aren't you?"
"Yes," Severus said with a tinge of embarrassment.
"Atta boy," Terry said with a wolfish smile, before changing the subject to Quidditch. The two boys happily chatted the rest of the train ride away, while Rowan continued to doze. They didn't even try to wake her up when Alchemy crept out of his carrier and curled up on her lap like a warm, vibrating blanket.