Not long after there was another Hogsmeade visit halfway through January. It was cold and wet, when Rowan left Hogwarts accompanied by her boyfriend, Barret Boone in a carriage headed towards Hogsmeade. The two of them were silent for a good while as they watched the falling snow whirl around them. "Are you sure about this?" Rowan finally asked out loud.
"About what?" Barrett replied, either not knowing what she meant or feigning otherwise.
"Are you certain that you want me to be your pretend girlfriend?" Rowan slowly replied. "In the long run, I think this might make things a bit more difficult for you in the future."
And after being boyfriend and girlfriend for over a week, she had genuinely become concerned about him. Even if he had been the one to ask her, she didn't want to place him in a position where there was no turning back for him. He was young and could easily fall in love with another boy even if he wasn't from Hogwarts.
Unlike the previous years before there were roughly one hundred new students and half of them were males from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. She just didn't want to have any regrets later in the far future, when he could have possibly found his next lover among these boys that would be leaving after the end of the spring school term. He wouldn't get another opportunity like that again.
"I'm certain," Barret flashed her a gentle grin that caused Rowan to glance away lest her heart beat a tad faster. It should be a crime to smile like that!
"I'm just saying that you might want to actually use the time to find a girl that wouldn't mind your romantic transgressions with a male partner, while being married to her," Rowan plainly suggested.
"And I will," Barrett quietly answered. "I'd just like a bit of time to heal for myself."
Rowan doesn't press any further as they ride in silence all the rest of the way until the carriage rolls to a stop. Barrett got out first and courtesy offers her a gloved hand to help her down. Rowan accepts and neatly jumps down into the muddy snowy ground. Holding hands Barret leads her down a side road into a small tea shop.
Rowan is unable to hide her grimace at seeing the cramped, steamy little place that seems to be solely decorated with frills and bows. Barrett chuckles at seeing her expression and says, "You must be the only girl at Hogwarts, who doesn't like it here."
Rowan sneers at him as she stares in revulsion at the Valentine decorations. There were a number of golden cherubs that were hovering over each of the small circular tables. Occasionally one of them would throw pink confetti over the occupants. Sadly, enough to her dismay, there was only one seat available in front of the steamy window.
Barrett firmly drags her towards the empty table much to Rowan's dismay. Flopping down in sullen sulk, Rowan eyes the other couples in the shop. She spots Jean Delacour and Apolline in a corner staring soulfully into each other's eyes. They weren't the only one's, Pandora and Xeno were holding hands under the table, while Remus and Mary shyly stared at each other with bashful smiles.
"Traitors," Rowan grumbled under her breath at seeing her friends. With a sneer, she glanced at the other couples and made a revolted expression at catching them kissing over the table.
Before Rowan can consider bolting away, Madam Puddifoot arrives, a stout young woman with a shiny black bun is an about ten years older than them. But still, she preferred to be called Madam rather than Miss as Madam Puddifoot believed that it gives her an air of seniority. "What can I get you, m'dears?"
"A coffee, please," Barrett replied before glancing at Rowan.
"Can I have a salted caramel latte?" Rowan asked.
"Latte?" Madam Puddifoot stared blankly at Rowan.
"How about a peppermint hot chocolate?" Rowan said with a sigh.
"Of course," Madam Puddifoot said, before rushing off.
The two of them are quiet until Rowan says, "So, what do you like to do for fun?
Barret lowly chuckles and says, "I enjoy playing Quidditch and studying."
"Right," Rowan drily said. "Anything else?" Suddenly a spurt of confetti falls on top of them causing Rowan's face to darken even further. Brushing off the confetti she mumbles something about terrible food practices.
"Well, I do enjoy arithmancy," Barret obviously said.
Rowan stills the urge to roll her eyes when thankfully Madam Puddifoot returns with their drinks. The two of them eagerly take a sip and pretend to drink for a good while. Finally, Rowan says, "Think this is good enough?"
"Probably," Barrett mumbled. "Just a kiss on the cheek and a hug. And we each can go our separate ways."
"Fantastic," Rowan said as they finished their drinks before getting up. Barret left the payment on the table before at the entrance of the shop, Rowan gently places a kiss on his cheek, and he gives her a hug. The two of them say their goodbyes and each thankfully goes their separate ways.
Rowan quite happily makes her way back to the caste. She'd have stopped by Hogs Head Inn, but she'd received a very short scribbled message from Aberforth with one word, Watched. Whoever was watching Aberforth was enough to make him wary. And it really could be any number of individuals. And for all her abilities, she wasn't all-mighty and infallible. It was better to wait until the coast was clear, whenever that was.
Several nights later found Rowan meditating in the secret chamber. She'd not had much time beyond her usual meditation to truly focus on herself given all the incidents that had been transpiring in her life. The pathways in her body had finally fully stabilized after all these months and fully absorbed the latent power that was left over. Her pathways were much stronger and larger than ever before. The next time around should she need to absorb more than one death energy surge, her body would be able to handle it.
Rowan opened her eyes and got up to read one of Salazar's books. She'd finished one of them and had discovered a few more useful potions, but nothing extraordinary. She'd since written them down in English and given them to Severus. Severus naturally was delighted and eagerly worked on them in his free hours. If it all went well, he'd claim the discovery for the potions or at least be credited for discovering them.
On that note, Rowan was most pleased to find out that the chamber of secrets did not appear on the marauder's map. James had asked her some nights ago, where she went when she disappeared off the map. Rowan had merely smiled and remained silent on the subject much to James' annoyance. Ever since then he'd been trying to find where she went each night to no avail. Poor Gryffindor, he was trying to out sneak a Slytherin.
Rowan paused as she read and frowned, before reading the paragraph again.
"The Maledictus curses better known as blood curses are quite interesting to say the least. Only the daughter, female lines carry the curse and not that of the sons. It is no mere coincidence as even the worst of enemies will not extinguish the male line of a wizard."
Rowan snorts and mutters out loud, "Chauvinist pigs."
"Those carrying blood curses do not tend to live very long as most cause them to die young or turn into permanent beasts. Those that turn into permanent beasts may live long enough lives trapped forever in beast form. It is found that even in the beast form they retain a portion of their human nature but most of their memory is lost over time. But never all of it for some part of them still remains alive behind.
Actually, I myself practiced the curse not too long ago on an annoying witch. She refused to wed my son and instead married a prominent wizard by the name of Greengrass. Her name is Sophronia Greengrass. My poor soon was utterly heartbroken thankfully he quickly moved on from the whore. I've cursed all her daughters to die young much like she shortly will. Though the curse may be partially broken my marrying magical creatures such a Ceela and such, I doubt it will ever come to pass. But even if it did it'd only guarantee them seventy years of life.
I've made sure the curse is tuned to my bloodline. Only those of my blood can remove the curse. It is rather simple really for all that needs to be said out loud is, "Et Abitt Exercratione Maledita Congessti." The curse will naturally be removed. I've only written it down lest my heir marries a Greengrass. Otherwise, allow the bloodline to rot."
Rowan uses a few choice words to describe Salazar Slytherin, before taking out her wand and muttering the incantation. "Et Abitt Exercratione Maledita Congessti." A strange pulse is felt in the air like a giant ripple that suddenly passes out of Rowan outward like water. Within seconds it's gone as if spreading further and further away. She had a distinct feeling it'd cover the entire the world in some way or another to remove the curse for certain.
Rowan wasn't stupid enough to mention the curse to Terry. And even if she did there was no way to prove the curse really was gone until several years from now. Now doubt the older Greengrass women affected by the curse wouldn't feel the effects until several years later. It'd probably be most visible in the Greengrass children as they grew. And the Greengrass branch that produced Astoria Greengrass would be curse free if Draco Malfoy still chose to marry her in the future.
Left with a bad taste in her mouth, Rowan puts the volume away for the night and teleports back to the dorms. Lying in bed she stares at the ceiling in thought. She knew for a fact that Nagini was indeed such a cursed figure. But the question was that if after all these years were there any human mind to salvage?
Prisoners go mad in solitary confinement. And this was a woman who'd been trapped in a snake's body for over forty years. Even if Nagini was found, Rowan would not be able to reverse the curse as she wasn't the one who originally cast it, to begin with. But then again maybe her Squib research might further shed some light on the terrible subject.