As it would turn out, Rowan quickly began to regret her charitable act of kindness. It wasn't even after dinner, when Severus exploded on her in the middle of the library. Needless to say, Madam Pince made short work of him and kicked him out. For the rest of the evening, the marauders all gaped at her especially James, who kept giving her weird looks of envy.
The school was aflame with rumors as Severus kept giving Rowan dark looks like she betrayed him for another. Not only was that image vastly unpleasant, but it was i.n.c.e.s.tuous! Hopefully, the looks would die down in time, but at present, the looks and whispers continued. And if she thought Darcy Travers couldn't get any worse, she was deadly wrong. All she would say is that Darcy Travers was an inch away from getting his bullocks hexed off!
January 9th had come and gone as a rather tedious day, to say the least. Rowan and Severus turned fifteen with no great fanfare. They received the usual sweets from the friends and the hushed whispers of congratulations.
Rowan's new so called boyfriend was left unaware of the yearly event. She had no real interest in receiving anything from him. A shame really, she should at least get a free gift. And who doesn't like receiving gifts? But she didn't want to be involved any more than they already were.
Sitting in the astronomy tower near midnight, Rowan wore a warm cloak as she sat in the freezing tower. Her lips were a bit blue as great puffs of steam emerged from her mouth and nose. She'd had a rather long day and just wanted some peace and quiet for once.
A soft rustle causes her to warily turn around to only see a head and body gradually emerge. "It's just me, Rowan!" James softly said as he trotted over and plopped down next to her.
"What are you doing up?" Rowan asked with an arched brow.
"The same can be asked of you?" James countered back with a grin.
"It's my birthday as you already know," Rowan grunted. "And it's been a rather shitty day to be perfectly honest."
"I know," James said as he reached into his mole pouch and pulled out a small cake. It was quickly becoming a tradition at this point.
Rowan chuckled remembering last year. "Really, Prongs? At this rate, I think you're already halfway in love with me."
"Not you!" James yelped only to turn red in embarrassment at having revealed his true feeling. Coughing he hastily says, "Any who, make a wish! It's tradition!"
"I will if you answer just a single question of mine."
"It's Lily, isn't it?"
James turns bright red in an answer as Rowan hides her knowing grin. James quickly lights the candle with the tip of his wand as Rowan bends over and blows it. The wisp of smoke quickly blows away with the cold chill. Splitting the strawberry cake in half, James lets Rowan choose and as usual she leaves the biggest half for him taking the smaller half for herself. She didn't very much like strawberry cake, not that she hated strawberries to begin with as she loved a good old-fashioned strawberry pie or tart, it's just that she didn't like the taste of the strawberry cake.
Taking a bite of the perfectly moist strawberry cake, Rowan rather muffled says, "So, I am going to guess that you found me thanks to that confounding map of yours?"
"Yup," James muttered back as he took a big bite of his slice of cake. "So, how did you end up with Boone?" He was just as intrigued by the situation as the rest of Rowan's friends including her twin brother, Severus. And he didn't mean to gossip for that was simply beneath, a Gryffindor! But curiosity wasn't and in fact, it was expected of them!
"If I tell you the truth, James, you can't tell anyone else including the rest of the marauders," Rowan sternly said knowing full well that James would keep his mouth shut. James was many things but not a snitch was not one of them.
"Marauder's honor!" James cried out as he held his hand up in the air.
"Boone asked me to pretend to be his fake girlfriend," Rowan replied before taking another bite of her cake. "I'll dump him at the start of the next year so he can pretend to be heartbroken. And so that his parents won't pick a fianc for him."
"That surprisingly makes sense," James admitted. "Though how come you didn't tell Severus?"
Rowan flashes him a wolfish smile. "I'm still angry about the tournament."
"Fair enough," James acknowledged with a shrug. Glancing away he coughs, "So how did you know I like Lily?"
Rowan stares at him as though he was an idiot causing James to further blush. "It's fairly obvious," Rowan replied as she stuffed the last of the cake in her mouth and brushed off the crumbs. "So, what are you going to do about it?"
James sputters in embarrassment, before sheepishly asking, "You think I have a chance?"
Rowan solemnly stares at James for a moment or two. She knew full well that James won the last time despite being a complete and utter arse to Severus. And this James was not only smarter and kinder but actually a pretty decent guy. To be fair, James had a very good chance of winning Lily's heart again. And in all honesty, if, Severus were to lose Lily again, and if it was to this James even Rowan could live with it.
Rowan slowly says, "James, you have as a good a chance as anyone, I think. Maybe even a bit more given that you're in the same year and house as Lily. So, good luck."
"Thanks," James ruefully said as he brushed a nervous hand through his hair.
Suddenly loud footsteps can be heard nearby as James instantly tugs Rowan closer and pulls the invisible cloak over them. Pressing close together, they press as close as they can to the ledge of the astronomy tower and hold their breaths. The voice of Professor Lye can be heard saying, "That's strange I thought for sure I heard voices coming from up here. But I don't see anyone up here."
"It's probably some kids at the bottom of the astronomy tower that their voices echoed all the way up here, professor," Argus Filch grumbled. "They probably already ran off the minute they heard us."
"You're probably right," Professor Lye said as he limped away with Argus Filch in tow.
James and Rowan didn't dare move for what seemed hours, but in reality, it is only a matter of minutes. Taking a deep breath, Rowan removed the cloak to feel the blast of the cold air on her face. "Well at least this comes in handy," Rowan commented as James flashed her a smug grin.
"Well, since you just saved me with that infernal invisible cloak of yours, I suppose I might as well show you something just as neat, James," Rowan said with a smug smile as she took a step backward towards the ledge.
"Ha ha ha, very funny," James grumbled with a tad of worry seen his eyes at seeing Rowan take another step back. "Hey, this isn't funny anymore, Rowan!" He sharply said, quickly moving forward to grab her and pull her safely back.
Placing her finger to her lips, Rowan gestures for him to remain silent before she falls backward off the ledge. James is in utter shock and frantically scrambles forward before he can even scream something darts past him. Gawking in the moonlight, James blinks in utter incredulity unable to believe his own two eyes. There in the dark of the night, Rowan was easily flying.
"But wizards and witches can't fly!" James lamely protested still unable to believe what he was seeing.
"Who said?" Rowan chuckled as she floated back near to the edge. "If a muggle could construct a giant metal like bird to fly through the sky and even go into space. Why can't we wizards defy the heavens and do the same?"
Extending her hand, Rowan waits as James slowly takes her hand. "Don't let go," Rowan sternly said, before pulling James off the ledge and into the air. James gasps at finding himself floating in the air, before letting a cry of delight, when they drop towards the ground.
Flying in the cold night sky, Rowan takes him for a whirl around the grounds, before returning to the tower half-frozen and cheeks flushed. James just beams at her as his eyes seem to sparkle with an inner light. "You have to teach me how to do that!" James begged the minute they landed.
"For your birthday next year," Rowan replied as she shivered and tucked her cloak around her.
"Pinky promise?" James asked as he held up his pinky in the air.
Rowan rolls her eyes and says, "I know for a fact that you did not know that saying before. It must have been Lupin who told you."
James flashes her a cheeky grin before Rowan interlocks her pinky with that of his. "Yes, pinky promise," Rowan muttered. "But you do know that this kind of promise is only common between small children, right?"
"Maybe," James said with a shrug. "But Rowan, you, never break a promise."
Rowan snorts and breaks their pinky grip. "Well, we best be off to bed," Rowan said as she made her way down the stairs.
"Race you to the common room area first!" James said with a flourish, before pulling his cloak up and scrambling past her.
Resisting the urge to step on his cloak, Rowan leisurely makes her way down the tower before teleporting back to the girl dorms. Prongs never said that cheating wasn't allowed. And besides, she wasn't about to foolishly walk around the school, when she could just teleport there. Really, Gryffindor's were always so very predictable.