Saturday morning, Rowan and Severus were at breakfast eating Dawn's famous, but rarely ever baked cinnamon rolls. Grandmother hadn't liked them eating too many sweets for breakfast. However, since they'd had only just returned late Thursday afternoon, Reginald thought the twins deserved a treat after four days of exams.
With a great big yawn, Georgine strides into the dining hall and takes her usual seat at her brother's side. "Anything new?" Georgine asked as she grabbed a still warm biscuit from the basket before her and began to spread jam onto it.
"Nothing much beyond news on the Cure and the Quidditch World Cup," Reginald mumbled, before glancing over at Georgine. "You have eyeshadows under your eyes, dear sister. Were you out drinking again?"
Georgine purses her lips and says, "If you must know, brother of mine, I was out with Dorea Potter last night. We decided to visit her cousin, Lucretia Prewett."
Georgine stuffed the biscuit into her mouth and mumbled, "Though I didn't count on the two younger Blacks being there."
Reginald merely arches his eyebrow but doesn't comment back. Raising his paper back up, he begins to read, when the doors burst open. The excited figure of Dawn rushes in with two sealed envelopes with the Ministry of Magic seals on them. "They've come, young master and mistress!" Dawn excitedly said as she handed over the letters.
Reginald drops the paper he was reading as Georgine quickly downs a bit of orange juice to swallow her biscuit down. The two of them eagerly watch the twins open their envelopes. Rare wide excited grins appear on both of their faces as they shout, "We passed all the courses!"
Rushing out of their seats, Reginald and Georgine hurry over and each peered over one of the twins' shoulders to see the results for themselves.
Ministry of Magic
Minister: Eugena Jenkins
Office of C.S.A.E., the Comprehension Student Apprenticeship Exam
(Head of the C.S.A.E. Indus Whiz)
Dear Miss Prince,
We are pleased to inform the recipient that you have passed the C.S.A.E. A list of potential master's has been included. Also, at the examinee's own discretion, they may choose to purse a master on their own. Please find enclosed a list of said candidate and the required form to be filled out and signed, stating the master's official acceptance of apprenticesh.i.p.s. The form must be signed and returned in a timely manner in order to be officially registered with the Office of C.S.A.E.
The Hogwarts term begins on the 1st of September. We await your owl by no later than 13th of August.
Head of the C.S.A.E.
Grades are as follow:
E Exceed Expectations
Defense Against the Dark Arts O
History of Magic A
Ancient Runes A
Defense Against the Dark Arts O
History of Magic A
Care of Magical Creatures A
Rowan personally felt rather pleased with herself given the fact that she had earned 3 O's, 1 E, and 5 A's. They were all passing grades and with Severus beating her with one more Outstanding. Worst of all, he'd beaten her using Divination, which she was absolutely certain that he had just made up his answer for the final divination portion of the exam!
"What do the two of you desire?" Reginald said with great pleasure as his eyes sparkled with delight.
"Aren't we already going to the World Cup?" Rowan muttered with a frown.
"Yes, but both of you passed all your subjects!" Georgine interrupted. "Do you have any idea when the last time any student passed the exams at your age in every single course?!"
"Well, I'd like some potions volumes," Severus instantly answered with no shame whatsoever.
"In that case, I'd like to have some more books as well, but that can wait until later," Rowan replied with a shrug.
"Yes, yes," Reginald said as he hurried away leaving his food untouched, but not before crumbling the letter in his pocket into a wad. It was from Eileen, but he'd not spare it a single glance. She had chosen her path, and so had he. And his heart would not weaken again. (In fact, he'd been steadily receiving a letter from her once per week from, since her visit to the manor. But he had never opened a single one of them, and had no intention of ever doing so much less replying back.)
Georgine, on the other hand, happily dug into her meal. She was simply famished with at the sudden joyous news. Though her eyes did narrow at seeing the actions of her brother. Though she did not approve of that wretched girl's action, Eileen was still the mother of the children. And although she understood her older brother's sentiments, she truly hoped her brother did not come to regret his actions. Because the ones who would end up paying the final price would not be him, but rather the children at having missed the opportunity to meet with their mother again or even make amends.
Rowan returns to eating, but despite herself, there is a grin on her face. Even Severus kept glancing at his letter with a pleased expression. They happily scarfed down their meals, before heading outside to enjoy what was left of their summer.
Lying down in the shade of one of the big trees, Severus says, "I can't wait to write to Lily about this!"
"You can't," Rowan said in a monotone voice as she stared up at the warm blue sky filled with puffy white clouds.
"Why not?!" Severus snapped.
"Because the process of finding an apprenticeship master is considered sacred and is not to be announced until the master does so. It's tradition," Rowan replied as she sleepily closed her eyes.
Severus sighs and closes his eyes for a moment. "I guess, but it still would have been nice. I hate that Lily won't be coming to the World Quidditch Cup with us."
"The next one is in four years; we'll be 18 by then. We'll still be young enough and be able to go on our own by then."
"And besides, didn't you promise to meet up at the World Cup with Terry and Sirius?"
"Yes. But I'd still have rather gone with Lily."
"Ah, such a sweet friendship."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Rowan doesn't respond earning herself a glare from Severus. But she really didn't care as she slowly began to doze off. She hadn't dozed off for long when she heard a whisper say, "Hungry."
Rowan's eyes fly open as she sits up and glances wildly all around. To her relief, she sees a small garden snake slithering through the grass in search of food. Breathing deeply, she leans back against the tree to stare into the peaceful distance. Severus is sound asleep napping at her side, no doubt dreaming of Lily as he keeps smiling in his sleep.
Glancing down at her hands, Rowan sees she has a slight tremble and flexes them to be rid of it. Her dreams, as usual, were once more filled with darkness and shadows. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as before, but she found herself inconveniently tired at times. She knew that the nightmares would never really go away. She'd seen far too much and had enough blood on her hands that this was the direct consequence of her own actions. But even so, she'd still choose the same path all over again.
Not that she had been given much of a choice in retrospect concerning the death of Professor Adric which had been forced by the curse of the DADA position itself. She could vibrantly recall that a part of her had fiercely struggled to fight against the curse and she had been somewhat successful, but in the end, all it had taken was a simple tripping jinx. Which was something to scoff at considering that Professor Adric was more than capable of deflecting such a childish spell, and yet for some reason, the Professor had not sensed nor heard the spell being cast at him? It was utterly ridiculous, really.
And that point was even more so proven on that tragic day. Rowan instinctively flinched as her mind skipped over those recent events. But her being unable to move nor react only served to further prove her point, she wasn't truly prepared to kill someone in cold blood quite yet. And the only other death of a human being caused indirectly by her hand was the death of Nicholas Flamel and his wife had been a direct result of the destruction of the Philosopher's stone. But once again, she had never been truly facing them in a duel face to face.
More importantly, Rowan knew that she wasn't capable of it yet, either. Even the Basilisk had been killed indirectly by her hand and more so thanks to the Acromantula's efforts. Still, she had to get stronger even if that meant directly learning from Dumbledore, because she just couldn't afford to fail, Severus. She just couldn't.