September 1st started overcast and raining, which in Rowan's opinion was a terrible omen. Severus would have laughed at her and had she spoke of her concern. But she had the rather distinct feeling that she had forgotten some vital detail. It was something so trivial that she'd just shoved it under the rug so to speak. But what?
Unlike the times before Aunt Georgine accompanied them to platform nine and three-quarters much to the annoyance of Severus. The Hogwarts Express, the scarlet steam engine, as usual, gleamed, puffing out great big clouds of steam as students and parents on the platform appeared like dark ghosts.
To both of Rowan and Severus's surprise not only did their grandfather hug them, but Aunt Georgine did as well. She sheepishly whispered into both of their ears, "Take children. And be wary of Professor Dumbledore. For he is a Gryffindor and Gryffindor's do not see the world as we Slytherins see it. And enjoy yourselves, it will be a most exciting year."
Rowan blinks at the honesty as Severus slowly nods his head in understanding. In rare form, Severus actually says, "Thank you, Aunt Georgine," while Rowan tilts her head in gratitude towards her aunt.
The two of them promise to write to their grandfather upon their arrival before they lug their things onto the train. They easily found a compartment, before Severus burst off in search of Lily. Owny who was napping in his cage merely sleepily hooted, before ducking his head back under his wing.
That last words of Aunt Georgine are causing alarm bells to go off in the back of Rowan's mind as she stared out the window and watched the drops sliding down. But before she could put it all together the compartment door slides open.
Terry sighs and says, "Thank goodness, I finally found you!" With a grunt, Terry kicks his trunk into place, before gently setting down Alchemy's carrier right next to Rowan.
Rowan quickly forgets what she was thinking about upon seeing Alchemy emerge from his carrier. Meowing as he always did Rowan just like the rest of Slytherin found herself fawning over the adorable cat. Happily rubbing the purring figure of Alchemy, she says, "I don't know why Alchemy hasn't been kidnapped yet."
"Oh, they've tried trust me," Terry sniffed as he leaned back into his seat. "But that jeweled collar of his isn't just for decoration. Mum and my sisters paid for the most expensive anti-theft magic spelled collar that money can buy. Trust me, when I say this, I'm more liable to be kidnapped and never be found again, then Alchemy here will ever be."
"Yes, well, Alchemy is an angel," Rowan cooed to the purring cat.
"Yes, yes," Terry said with a roll of his eyes. "So, you excited for this year?"
"Why?" Rowan asked curiously.
Terry eagerly leans over to answer, but the compartment door slides open. Their image must look rather strange as both of them are leaning towards each other. Severus loudly clears his throat and shoves Terry over as he takes his seat next to Terry. Lily giggles as she says, "I hope we aren't interrupting anything."
"Like what?" Terry snorted. "Please Rowan isn't even my type even if my glorious blond self is her preferred type. I consider her too much of a good friend to even remotely consider ruining our glorious friendship!"
Rowan rolls her eyes and says, "Get over yourself, Greengrass."
The two of them begin to playfully bicker as the Hogwarts Express lets out its last whistle. The pistons hiss loudly, and the train begins to move. They banter for a bit more until Severus and Lily chat over the world quidditch cup at which point Rowan ignores all three of them and plays with Alchemy.
The rain became heavier and heavier as the train moved farther north. The outside sky is so dark with the windows steamed up that the lanterns are lit by midday. After lunch, Rowan easily tuned them out to take a nap as it was dark outside until she slowly awakens at hearing a rather strange conversation running the background. "So, you're telling me that Durmstrang is another wizarding school?" Lily inquisitively asked.
"Yes, Lily," Terry could be heard sighing in reply. "Despite Durmstrang's horrible reputation and according to An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe, the magical institution puts way too much of an emphasis on the Dark Arts. Why Gellert Grindelwald attended there himself before he was expelled for his Dark Arts experiments!"
There's a long awkward pause after Terry words until he cautiously asks, "You do know who that is, don't you, Lily?" Severus despite not speaking out loud must clearly be making his feelings known by glaring at Terry to shut up now.
"No!" Lily embarrassedly replied. "But I know that he was an evil wizard and that Professor Dumbledore defeated him."
"Close enough," Terry muttered under his breath. "Anywho it's one of the primary schools in Europe including Hogwarts and Beauxbatons."
"And so just where are they located at?" Lily curiously asked.
"No one really knows as the school is hidden and protected," Terry admitted with a shrug. "But my guess Drumstrang's probably somewhere north of Germany and Beauxbatons in southern France towards Italy."
Blinking awake Rowan yawns and says, "Why are we even chatting about this again?"
Terry is smugly is about to reply, when the corridor flies open on accident. The 1st year apologizes, before rushing off as Terry and the rest move onto a new topic. This time around Rowan knows that it can't be just a coincidence. This was the second time it had occurred just when Terry was about to answer her question. Just what was it that she was forgetting?
The rest of the trip, Rowan was lost in thought until it came time for them to change. Rowan and Severus both pinned their apprenticeship badges onto their right b.r.e.a.s.t over their robes. Terry gapes and merely points at them as Lily blinks in bewilderment. "You sly dogs!" Terry shouted. "When were you going to tell us?!"
"At some point," Rowan sniffed as Severus flashed Terry a dark grin of revenge.
Terry sullenly pouts and says, "You guys are much to Slytherin for your own good," causing Rowan and Severus to loudly guffaw.
Lily leans forward to stare at the silver badges with an encircled pentagram that has ancient runes at each element point. "They're beautiful," Lily commented. "What are they for?"
"They passed the apprenticeship exam," Terry reverently answered.
"Well, that's nice I suppose," Lily naively said causing Terry to choke. Before Terry can respond the train pulls to a stop as the 1st years rush excitedly out. Rowan and the rest of them grab their cloaks and umbrellas as they walk out into the rain.
"By Helga Hufflepuffs rear," Terry cursed. "And I thought last year's drizzling was bad. Their tiny boats will probably sink in this weather!"
Rowan doesn't reply as they hurriedly make their way to the carriages to only see Severus become still as he stares at the Thestral's before the carriages. Severus opens his mouth to speak, when Rowan says, "They're merely Thestral's, Severus. We can see them, now."
Severus's mouth shuts up with a loud clap as they climb into the carriage. With a great big lurch, the long procession of carriages was rumbling and slashing their way up the track towards the castle. After drying themselves Severus and Rowan are rather quiet on the ride to Hogwarts. Terry wisely fills the gap of silence for Lily. Lily didn't quite understand what Rowan had meant by that, but Terry did a fairly good job of distracting her. After all, he was known as a devilish charmer given his gilded tongue.
Lightning flashes across the sky as their carriages come to a halt before the great oak front doors. Rushing out of the carriage, they pull up their umbrellas thick curtain of rain falls onto them. Stomping their way into the entrance, they close their umbrellas shut and shrink their dry umbrellas into their pockets. Running one last cleaning charm over their clothes and shoes, they all head into the Great Hall when screams are heard behind them.
Rowan and Severus immediately turn around with their wands out giving Lily a bit of a fright as Terry slowly nods his head in understanding. Large, red, water-filled balloons had dropped from the ceiling onto several girls. Drenched and sputtering like wet cats the girls shrieked in anger at Peeves, the Poltergeist, a tiny little man in a bell-covered hat and orange bow tie, and a wide malicious face.
Professor McGonagall rushed over towards Peeves with her wand pointed high. Rowan and Severus both put their wands away as they ignored the shouting behind them. Lily doesn't much pay attention to their actions, before waving goodbye and heading over to the Gryffindor side of things.