As the first task drew nearer, surprisingly, Rowan was the only champion who wasn't actually worried about the subject. If the tournament was the same as in Potter's time, it'd be a bloody dragon. Seeing that there was nothing she could do to beat a dragon, she thought it best to forfeit the match after it started. She didn't have a death wish to begin with.
With that in mind, she planned ahead and would pretend to cast Accio on the eggs first and then forfeit the match. It wasn't like she planned on being the champion of the tournament. And she wasn't the only one as the rest of the student body of Hogwarts didn't think Rowan had a chance in hell to win. Which was perfectly fine by her as that meant there'd be less of a pressure on her.
Surprisingly the article written by Rita Skeeter focused on the other two champions than on Rowan. She must have done something right as Rowan was only briefly mentioned nor the death of her father was mentioned at all. Which made Rowan feel immensely pleased with herself.
On the Saturday before the first task, all students in their third year and higher were permitted to visit Hogsmeade. Naturally, even the students of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons would be going down as well. As such there was flurry of inviting them on dates and the likes.
They weren't the only ones as Regulus proudly asked Bethanie to accompany him. To which she answered, yes, while blushing. Whether Bethanie truly felt that way or was settling for Regulus instead of Sirius, Rowan couldn't really tell. But from what she'd observed, Sirius had been only a slight crush, while Regulus had successfully generated romantic feelings within Bethanie. Either way, the two seemed to be an excellent match with the added bonus of having amorous feelings for each other.
However, they weren't the only romantic pair, or maybe the better word would be a forced romantic pairing. Tiffany would also be accompanied by Vasco her future intended. Apparently over the summer from the undertones Rowan could pick up from Bethanie is that Vasco intended on being a stereotypical Italian wizard.
It only took Rowan and Silvia observing Tiffany's reactions during potion's to quickly realize that Tiffany had resigned herself to said fact, and only made the minimum of attempts to maintain the tentative alliance between her and Vasco. They'd not be becoming good friends in the long run, but allies at best in their marriage. And though tragic, it could always be infinitely far worse.
Though there were other actual romantic pairs about. It came as no surprise, when Rowan saw Barty Crouch ask Letitia Bones, and that of Dirk Cresswell with Dorothy Cabot. Apparently, Dorothy Cabot and Dirk had become quite smitten with each other after he saved her from Bertha Jorkins. It was the usual fairytale about the knight saving the maiden from the fiery dragon.
Though Rowan almost choked at seeing Peter Pettigrew asking Quyen Crowley out during lunch in the Great Hall. She wasn't the only one as plenty of other students visibly choked or fell out of their seats. Blushing Quyen coyly accepted the invitation to go down to Hogsmeade with Pettigrew.
Later Rowan finally got the whole story from Lupin, but apparently while at the Quidditch World Cup, Quyen had gotten separated from her parents and been surrounded by no-good teens.
Pettigrew valiantly came to her rescue and since then the maiden had become smitten with her short Gryffindor knight as Quyen was even a tad bit taller than him.
Despite her newfound rapport with Quyen, Rowan was more than a bit stunned by the news but even she had to admit that Quyen truly did appear equally smitten with Pettigrew. Quyen and Pettigrew would often make lovey-dovey eyes at each other during potions causing Professor Slughorn to more than once take points from them both and threatening them both with detention before the two finally kept their eyes on their cauldrons. Still, their gazes would typically wander over to each other every now and then with a goofy smile on Pettigrew's face, and a rather creepy smile on Quyen's. It was rather awkward, to say the least.
But there were still more romantic pairings to come! Ignoring Pandora, who'd somehow managed to finally land Xeno during the summer thanks to Tiffany's advice. Pandora wasn't the only successful girl, who had followed Tiffany's advice. During the summer, Willa had also managed to land Thomas Bell, the Hufflepuff Chaser, and was now actively dating him.
However, the greatest shock of them all was Remus Lupin and Mary MacDonald. They'd all been sitting at lunch, when Remus smooth as you pleased stepped into their conversation during lunch, and asked, Mary, if she'd go down with him to Hogsmeade. Flushing, Mary happily replied yes, before Remus smiled back, and returned to sitting with Terry, Severus, and the rest of the Marauders.
It had caused Rowan to openly gape for a while. It wasn't the idea of Remus dating Mary that was preposterous, but rather the idea that Remus was courageous enough to do so. Why even Tonks had to chase Remus down, and even then, Remus ran off once married! But then again, Remus was probably no longer afraid to get close to a girl now that he was free of the curse.
Still, it was a bit of relief for Rowan to see the subtle seeds planted slowly bearing fruit. Hopefully, they'd mature enough to maintain the changes, and not falter under the first fierce wind. Because if she had learned anything at all at this point is that fate does not like to be changed. And there is always a price for doing so, always.
Not soon enough the weekend finally arrived. Early morning as was tradition, Rowan was first out in front of Hogwarts. She knew for a fact that Hagrid would be going with Madame Maxime. She'd helped him last night pick out an outfit and do his hair. Ever since, his makeover, Hagrid had gained a lot more confidence in his looks.
He still dressed mostly the same, but now knew to at least take the time to keep his hair and beard neatly trimmed. Even just wearing a lumberjack shirt was enough for him to look good now that his face had dimension. At this rate, Hagrid might just end up moving to Beauxbatons with Madame Maxime that much earlier.
Rowan carefully tucked her hooded cloak around herself and wore a dark blue scarf instead of her usual Slytherin, emerald, and silver-colored scarf. The morning was crisp as she was the first into the carriage that morning. She admired the orange, somewhat bare trees, and the starting to freeze inky black lake.
Winter could clearly already be felt as the days grew colder and the skies grayer. With a sigh, she shakes her head as Rowan recalls the other two marauders, James and Sirius. Rowan resisted the urge to let her face fall into the palm of her hand. Sirius had boldly asked one of the Beauxbaton girls to accompany him and she said, yes. Ignoring the fact that the girl thought Sirius was cute in a little brother sort of way, Sirius proudly strutted around the castle with his tailfeathers all out.
And then there was James. Now, that guy truly filled Rowan with despair. The fool instead of confessing his feelings to Lily had tried to make her jealous. He'd been flirting with some other girl in obvious places to no avail.
One would think that after last year, he'd have gotten the hint. But then again, James still couldn't bring himself to admit out loud that he liked Lily. Every time, Rowan so much tried to suggest the topic he'd quickly change the subject.
As such, Rowan happily gave up, because James wasn't her brother, and she'd stopped prodding him for information. She had just been trying to verify where exactly James's tactics were in the scheme of things. After all, she still had the tiniest smidgeon of hope that Severus might just produce a miracle in the end. But like all things, it might just be a vain hope in the end.