Carewyn’s third year had been an adventure and a half. She’d become something of a school hero for dealing with the Ice Vault’s curse the previous year with Ben Copper and Bill Weasley, but this year had also involved her becoming a Star Chaser on the Slytherin Quidditch team for one match, leaving the team after a fall-out with other Star Chaser Skye Parkin, and befriending not only Bill’s younger brother Charlie and popular Style Wizard Andre Egwu, but also her school rival Merula’s old friend, Tulip Karasu, and one of her lackeys, Barnaby Lee. And the year concluded with her having likewise gone into the Fear Vault with Bill, Tonks, and Barnaby and break its curse, setting her on a path once and for all to deal with all of the Vaults so she could save her brother Jacob.
After such a crazy year, Carewyn hadn’t been too surprised when Slytherin Prefect Felix Rosier asked to meet with her at the Training Grounds. She’d both lost and gained Slytherin quite a few house points (thanks in no small part to her short-lived Quidditch career), and she knew winning the House Cup was always his top priority, so she was very used to him “reminding” her to pick up after herself and earn twice as many points as she lost their house. Felix, however, for once didn’t start the conversation with the subject of house points.
“It’s the end of the year, and -- more relevantly -- the end of my time at Hogwarts,” he said. “Come June, I’ll have left this school for good...leaving Slytherin house in the hands of students like you. A troubling thought, to be sure,” he added as a dry aside.
Carewyn raised her eyebrows coolly, but did not answer.
She was more than used to Felix’s digs at her and her “delinquent” brother by now. It still irked her a little bit, but she’d known Felix long enough that she knew his behavior wasn’t really anything malevolent. He kind of reminded her of this fat, old, grumpy gray cat owned by the lady who owned the local ice cream parlor in her neighborhood, who always used to yowl in the back of his throat at anyone who came close to him, but almost never bare his claws.
Sure enough, with Carewyn not rising to the little barb, Felix brushed past it.
“With this in mind,” he said, and his shoulders were oddly stiff in how they straightened as he considered her, “I want to make sure you have something you can use to lead our house, in my absence.”
Carewyn blinked. “...You want to teach me?”
Felix had never really offered to help her before. She’d gone to him when she first wanted to learn how to duel so she could defend herself and her friends from Merula, and he’d reluctantly helped her out of obligation -- but he’d generally always expected her to take care of herself and, more importantly to him, win Slytherin house points on her own.
Felix gave a scoff. “Consider yourself fortunate -- I don’t tutor just anyone. I certainly wouldn’t have trained someone like your brother, no matter how smart he thought he was...”
Once again Carewyn tried to brush off Felix’s dig toward her brother, but this time it proved easier, just because of the expression on her Prefect’s face.
As long as Carewyn had known him, Felix had always been a rather guarded person -- a cold, vindictive guy who prioritized Slytherin winning above everything else and wasn’t really the type for sentiment or introspection. But in that moment, there was something uncomfortable, in his stiff shoulders and gruff expression...almost self-conscious. It made Carewyn hear his words differently and give them more thought that she might’ve before.
He wasn’t insulting her, she realized, as she looked at Felix. Slytherins weren’t always straight-forward about their feelings, and Carewyn was no exception. If Felix didn’t normally tutor people, but was tutoring her, then it meant he thought she was “worthy” of his knowledge. And if he wouldn’t have trained someone like Jacob, then it meant that he thought Carewyn wasn’t like Jacob. Carewyn still loved her brother with all her heart, so she only didn’t like being compared to Jacob because it was often framed as a bad thing, but even so. From the moment she’d first met him, Felix had always equated Carewyn with her “delinquent” brother and been extra hard on her as a result, not wanting her to be a burden on their house. So him acknowledging they weren’t the same was almost out of character.
He wasn’t trying to insult her. He was trying to apologize. He just didn’t know exactly how.
Feeling some pity prickle at the side of her heart despite herself, Carewyn opened her mouth as if to say something, before closing it again and reconsidering.
“...Thank you,” she said at last.
Felix was startled by the subtle, kind understanding in Carewyn’s expression. He considered her, some more of that odd uncertainty shadowing his gaunt face. After a brief moment, he cleared his throat and spoke much more gruffly again.
“Ahem. So. This is something you can use both in the Dueling Club and -- if you’re careful not to get caught -- elsewhere. I myself used it during a Quidditch friendly once, covertly,” he added with a smug smirk.
Carewyn cocked an eyebrow.
“Is my Prefect actually admitting that he broke the rules?” she asked with a slight smirk of her own.
Felix’s smirk broadened. “All good Slytherins know that rules are only to be followed when they work to our advantage. Besides, Gryffindor was in need of a good beating.”
He flippantly shrugged his robes off to the ground and faced the training dummies, his wand up and ready.
“This is the Freezing Charm,” he said in a much more crisp, business-like tone. “It will prevent anything with the ability to move from moving. Flitwick taught this to us so that we could freeze a pair of a shoes he’d enchanted to dance -- I’ve also found that it’s a great way to trip someone, if you point it directly at their feet,” he added with a rather smug smirk. “Watch me -- Immobulus!”
With an “X”-like wand movement, the Prefect had conjured up a cluster of violet-tinted white sparks, which collided with the closest training dummy and made it rock backwards, its limbs lashed to its sides.
Felix turned to Carewyn expectantly. The third-year Slytherin reached into the pocket of her second-hand light pink dress’s skirt and took out her own wand, getting into position in front of the dummy. She mimicked the wand movement she’d seen Felix use several times silently.
The Prefect watched her, before reaching out and taking hold of her wrist.
“Mind the breadth of your wand movements,” he said. “Imagine you’re creating a noose around your target -- bring your wand up diagonally, cross over the target, and then back down. It doesn’t need broad gestures to work: just enough that your target is clear.”
Carewyn didn’t particularly like Felix holding her wrist. It’s not that she couldn’t tell he was trying to help, but she just didn’t like someone holding her in a way she couldn’t easily dislodge herself from. Being too proud to say so, however, she sat very still, watching him out the side of her eye as she waited for him to let go. Fortunately Felix did, and Carewyn relaxed significantly, her wand trailing through the air a few more times as she refined the movement.
“...You said this spell can work on anything that moves, right?” said Carewyn.
“Yes,” said Felix. “The perimeters are anything animated, whether because it’s a living thing or because it’s been enchanted. The more you practice, the stronger and longer lasting its effects are. In some cases, you could even freeze multiple targets with it, but that requires a lot of focus.”
Carewyn smiled wryly. “So if it works on enchanted objects, I guess it’d work on a Golden Snitch? Maybe long enough to help our Seeker catch it during a friendly match without anyone noticing?”
Felix’s lips spread into a very broad smirk. “I daresay it would.”
Carewyn shook her head, but she was still smiling.
“You really love winning things, don’t you?” she said despite herself.
“Well, of course,” said Felix, as if it were obvious. “Don’t all of us Slytherins?”
“Sure,” granted Carewyn, “but... well, I guess I never saw much reason to care about the House Cup, just for the sake of winning it. It’s just a trophy. You can’t really do anything with it once you win it, aside from maybe brag.”
Felix cocked his eyebrows dully. “I suppose that’s why you left the Slytherin team to get crushed in the match against Gryffindor.”
Carewyn shot him a rather irked expression, but tried to focus on what she was doing instead, so she wouldn’t snap at him.
The light of her spell didn’t fully germinate, instead only making it half-way toward the dummy. She adjusted her grip on her wand and began to silently practice the wand movement again. Fortunately the distraction had been enough to help her cool her temper.
“I left the Slytherin team because I was filling in for their original Chaser, and she was ready to play again,” she said firmly. “And no matter how much I want to win, I’m not going to accept my teammates bullying other people. Orion deserves better than that, as Captain... and I expect better too.”
Felix rolled his eyes up toward the sky, not out of irritation, but something like resignation.
“I still don’t entirely understand how you ended up in our house, Cromwell,” he muttered.
Carewyn raised her eyebrows dryly. “Would you prefer I hadn’t and given all those house points I’ve earned to Gryffindor instead?”
“No.” Felix’s nose wrinkled in revulsion. “Certainly I’m pleased you went to a house that actually uses its cognitive faculties.”
He shifted his focus onto the training dummies, casting a few more Freezing Charms at them, so as to serve as an example for Carewyn.
“I suppose I’m just surprised you don’t care more about winning,” he said, his voice sounding a bit more thoughtful. “Don’t you want that respect, if not for yourself, then for Slytherin house overall?”
Carewyn watched Felix’s form with a frown, rotating her wrist absently.
“Well, of course, I want respect, but... well, winning a trophy doesn’t really matter to me, I guess, if I don’t love what I’m doing in the first place. The Quidditch Cup I get because I love playing Quidditch...and I want Orion and the others to achieve their dream of winning the Cup. But winning for the sake of winning just kind of seems like attention-seeking -- like those boys in Gryffindor who do dumb things to try to get Emily Tyler to like them...”
She recalled some of Bill’s classmates conjuring up a wall of flowers out of thin air and showing off on their brooms trying to impress her before Valentine’s Day and cringed. She was so glad that she was able to convince Bill Emily wasn’t worth his time -- he wasn’t the type to showboat, and she didn’t want him to feel like he had to, just to compete with idiots like that.
Felix cocked his eyebrows, interested.
“... Hm. So winning alone isn’t enough. The prize at the end has to have some personal value, to you. The journey means nothing, if you don’t get something for your labors -- in this case, not something tangible, but some sort of internal fulfillment.”
His lips actually curled into a slightly looser, more satisfied smile.
“... That actually is very appropriate to a Slytherin.”
Carewyn smiled. “Glad you approve.”
She pointed her wand at the training dummy closest to her, her blue eyes narrowing with focus.
This time, her spell hit its target. The dummy rocked back, its limbs lashing together at its side just as Felix’s had earlier.
The Slytherin Prefect’s face burst out into a full, broad smirk.
“Excellent!” he said. His dark eyes actually glinted with some pride. “As to be expected by the student who defeated a Gryffindor two years her senior.”
“That Gryffindor is my friend,” Carewyn said reproachfully. “And Bill was probably going easy on me at the time...”
“His mistake,” said Felix dismissively.
At that moment, a burst of raucous laughter rang out from the other side of the Training Grounds, prompting Felix and Carewyn to turn around.
A group of Slytherin boys a few years younger than Carewyn had strolled out onto the grounds with huge, wicked smirks on their faces as they talked amongst themselves. The one in the center of the clump, a dark-haired boy with gleaming, beady little eyes, was showing off something on his arm.
“Drew it myself!” he said proudly. “Sure made that blood traitor Hufflepuff wet himself -- ”
“Nice one, Emmett,” snigged one of his cohorts, a skinny, scrawny boy with large front teeth.
Felix’s lips came together tightly at the sight of the first year boys. When Carewyn looked at what the boy called Emmett had been showing his friends, though, she gave a horrible start seeing what looked like a skull with a snake coming out of its mouth drawn on it in paint.
Her blue eyes flaring with righteous anger, Carewyn lowered her wand and immediately strode over.
“Wipe that off your arm right now,” she said very coldly.
The younger boys looked up at the third-year girl, startled. The boy called Emmett reacted belligerently.
“You heard me,” said Carewyn. “The Dark Mark is not something to joke about.”
Emmett looked undaunted.
“Who says I was joking?” he asked with a smug smirk.
Carewyn put her hands on her hips. She was ready to give this boy a verbal lashing, but she was cut off by Felix.
“Emmett,” he said very lowly. “Take it off.”
The sight of Felix made Emmett’s smirk slide off his face. His beady little eyes narrowed, suddenly turning very hard.
"You’re not the boss of me, Felix!” he snapped.
“I am your Prefect, however,” said Felix, his voice still very quiet and solemn. “And I am your brother.”
Carewyn glanced at Felix out the side of her eye, slightly surprised. Emmett’s tiny eyes flashed.
“Not for much longer,” he taunted. “Reckon Mum’ll let me have your room, after you fly the coop? Don’t reckon she’ll want to have it set aside for you to come back and visit -- ”
“I wouldn’t need that room, at any rate,” said Felix. “Now take that paint off your arm.”
Emmett’s eyes, the same shape and color as Felix’s, were smoldering with resentment. He raised his arm, showing off the fake Dark Mark on his arm with a kind of vicious pride.
“Dad would’ve liked it,” he spat.
Felix’s eyes narrowed too, flashing with an emotion that Carewyn couldn’t quite place.
“Is that what Mum’s made you think?” he asked softly.
Sticking his chin out stubbornly, Emmett wiped the paint off his arm roughly on the inside of his robes. Then he turned to his friends, muttered, “Come on,” and the group strolled toward the other side of the Training Grounds.
Carewyn watched them go before turning to look at Felix. He'd bowed his head and closed his eyes, sighing quietly through his nose. His face looked so tired, so jaded...disheartened.
Compassion touching the inside of her chest, Carewyn extended a hand and rested it on the side of Felix’s shoulder.
The Prefect gave a light start -- he’d momentarily forgotten Carewyn was there. Then he glanced away.
“Don’t suppose you’ve met my younger brother previously?” he asked.
“No,” said Carewyn. “Is he a first year?”
Carewyn looked out at Emmett Rosier in the distance with his friends -- they were all still muttering malevolently among themselves.
“He’s six years younger than you, then,” she said slowly. “I guess that means you probably looked after him a lot, when you were younger...”
Like Jacob looked after me, she thought.
Felix’s shoulders had stiffened noticeably. Trying to brush his feelings aside, he spoke more brusquely.
“Well, our practice here is done. Let’s be off.”
Felix used his lesson for Carewyn as an excuse to give Slytherin 20 house points, citing her display of “exceptional Charms work” and for “setting a good example for younger students.” Carewyn couldn’t help but think awarding those house points was probably a good half of why he’d initiated this whole thing in the first place.
As fate would have it, though, not long before curfew, Carewyn ended up catching sight of Felix heading out alone to the castle courtyard after dinner that evening. Perhaps because the Prefect hadn’t known anyone was watching him, his gaunt face betrayed some more of that strange emotion that he’d shown around Emmett -- that resigned, melancholy look.
Telling Rowan and Barnaby that she’d meet them in the commonroom, Carewyn decided to follow Felix. She found him sitting in the courtyard alone, his arms resting on his right leg crossed up and over his lap as he looked up at the stars.
“Hi, Felix,” Carewyn greeted gently.
Felix looked up.
Carewyn took a few steps forward, so that she was standing beside him.
“May I sit with you?” she asked.
“If you must,” said Felix. His voice didn’t come out nearly as rude as it might’ve normally, though -- it almost sounded accepting, despite its resignation.
Carewyn lowered herself down on the ledge next to him, her hands clasped in her lap. Her almond-shaped eyes drifted up onto the night sky -- she didn’t feel comfortable enough to look Felix in the eye.
The two sat in silence for a long moment before Felix finally broke it.
“...Is there a reason you followed me out here?”
Carewyn shrugged. “I saw you leaving, and...I just got this feeling that you were drowning in something dark, in your head. Like you were facing down this demon only you could see. And, well...I didn’t like the thought of you sitting all alone with those thoughts.”
She clasped her hands in her lap.
“So I figured I’d just sit with you for a while, if that’s okay. Just so those bad thoughts aren’t the only thing keeping you company. We don’t need to talk, if you don’t feel like it.”
Felix glanced from Carewyn’s clasped hands in her lap to up at her face out the side of his eye, almost baffled.
“And what do you want in return for this, exactly?”
Carewyn raised her eyebrows.
“Oh come on, now,” said Felix scornfully. “You have to want something, to be this...nice. I’ve never been particularly pleasant to you before today, after all. What other reason would you have to act all buddy-buddy with your mean old Prefect?”
His dry sarcasm made Carewyn frown.
“...I didn’t really think you were being mean, when you said all that stuff about Jacob and me. It made me mad sometimes -- still does, honestly,” she muttered under her breath before moving on, “If you’re looking for my reason, it’s that I feel sorry for you. I’m sure it’s not a reason you’ll like, since you probably don’t like being pitied -- ”
Indeed, Felix did look rather miffed.
“ -- but that’s my reason all the same. And you don’t have anyone else to be here for you right now, and I’m able to do it, so I may as well. You might be nasty a lot of the time and I might not get your whole obsession with the House Cup at all...but I can tell you only act like you do because that’s just how you are. You’re not the sort of person who shows you care with soft words. That doesn’t mean you don’t care, and that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.”
Felix stared at Carewyn, stunned despite himself. Finally he broke his gaze away, casting it off toward the floor in the far corner of the courtyard.
“You really are a strange one, Cromwell,” he said gruffly.
There was a silence. Then he spoke again.
“...I suppose you did this for your brother too? Sitting with him even when he went off to be by himself?”
Carewyn nodded. “Sometimes. Sometimes he’d do it for me too. Mum had to work really long hours, so it was just us, a lot of the time."
Felix looked back up at the sky, leaning forward over his lap as he gazed at the stars overhead.
“...My father was away a lot too,” he admitted.
He could sense that Carewyn had shifted her gaze over to him, but he didn’t look at her.
“He always had a lot of work to do that he couldn’t tell us much of anything about. We’d assumed it was something to do with his job at the Ministry -- he’d been working at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the time, so I’d always thought maybe it had to do with something classified. Whatever it was, though, he didn’t want me to know about it -- for any of us kids or Mum to know about it. He didn’t want us asking questions. He didn’t want us going into his office or opening any drawers. He always kept everything locked. As far back as I can remember...I was never allowed to know what was inside. He always said...that his work was no fit thing for a bright young lad like me to spend my time on -- especially when I had my mother and younger siblings to look after.”
His eyes darkened noticeably. Carewyn’s eyes softened.
“Your father was trying to protect you, then,” she murmured.
Felix inclined his head. “All of us. He knew that if we knew what he was wrapped up in, we’d want to help him. Even if it meant joining the Dark Lord ourselves -- selling our souls and our freedom away, just to be by his side...we’d do it.”
The Slytherin Prefect’s eyes were as black as tar pits as he stared at his hands resting on his leg without even seeing them.
“But Emmett and Boudicca...they’re too young. They don’t remember how it really was -- all they know is what Mum’s recollected for them. How she saw things...how she wanted to see things. She didn’t want to think of Dad seeing his alignment as something he wasn’t proud of -- a beast he was willing to serve to achieve his goals, but didn’t want to sacrifice us to. ...She didn’t want to think of how he would’ve tried to dissuade her from following his path, if he were still here.”
Noticing Carewyn’s concerned expression, Felix shook his head.
“No, she’s not a Death Eater. Can’t very well be one, when their leader’s gone, can she? But she’s...changed, since Dad was killed. Hardened her heart. Sees our family’s core mission in life as living to avenge what was stolen from us...and by ‘our family,’ that unfortunately means us. Emmett and Boudicca have been brought fully on-board to the idea, of course, thanks to all the rubbish she’s fed them, but me...well...”
He smirked humorlessly.
“...I’m ‘flying the coop’ to Romania, to train dragons. So yeah, not exactly doing either of my parents proud.”
His face then grew more grim.
“...But I just...need a place that’s mine. A place that’s mine alone, where my fate is mine to make. And staying at home, I’ll never find that. All I’ll do instead is die slowly...wasting my time trying to save people who have no interest in being saved and have even less interest in saving me.”
Carewyn considered Felix for a moment. Her blue eyes trailed over his face thoughtfully, resting in the darkened corners of his sunken-in, resigned eyes.
“...Your father’s Evan Rosier, right?” she asked at last.
Felix’s expression twitched. “Yes.”
Whatever reaction Felix had been expecting, however, it wasn’t what he got. Carewyn offered a weak smile.
“My father’s name was Evan too,” she admitted.
Felix blinked in surprise.
“I didn’t really know him,” said Carewyn. “He left Mum, Jacob, and me when I was three or so. He was a Muggle, and finding out Jacob, Mum, and I had magic...I guess he just couldn’t handle it. So he packed his bags and never came back. Even before he left, I gather he didn’t pay me that much attention, so that’s why I don’t have many memories of him. Jacob raised me more than he did, really...”
The memory of her brother carrying her on his shoulders and having a mock duel with Licorice wands made her heart hurt. She closed her eyes and pushed the images down as best she could so as to keep her composure.
Felix’s expression shifted slightly, betraying something almost sympathetic.
“Funny how people don’t understand that they’re supposed to actually be around, if they want to really be considered parents,” he said cynically.
“I’m really sorry about your mum, though,” she murmured. “Your siblings too.”
Felix scoffed. “What are you sorry for? It’s not your doing.”
“No, I know...but I’m still sorry that you haven’t been able to support each other. ...That’s what families are supposed to do, even if a lot of them don’t.”
At least I’ve always had Mum, she thought to herself. And I had Jacob, before...
Once again she pushed the memory of Jacob sitting with her under the Christmas tree on his stomach to the back of her mind.
Felix sighed quietly through his nose, his gaze shifting back up toward the sky.
“Things often aren’t as they should be,” he said lowly. “But that’s nothing new for us Slytherins. That’s why we have to be resourceful and use what little we have, to earn the appreciation we’re owed.”
Carewyn offered Felix another slight sad smile and nodded, before looking back up at the sky.
They sat side by side in silence, their eyes heavenward, for a good while. More and more stars appeared as night fell, creating constellations that winked down at them through the blackness. And as the two Slytherins sat together, Carewyn absently started to sing under her breath, to pass the time.
“My child arrived just the other day --
He came to the world in the usual way,
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay...
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He’d say ‘I'm gonna be like you, Dad --
‘You know I'm gonna be like you...’
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon...
‘When you coming home, Dad?’ ‘I don't know when,
‘But we'll get together then...
‘You know we'll have a good time then...’”
When Carewyn’s voice had faded back into the silence, Felix finally uncrossed his legs and faced her properly -- and for the first time in Carewyn’s memory, his lips were actually turned up in a very slight, warm smile.
“You’d make a pretty fair replacement for Chester Davies,” he said amusedly.
Carewyn smiled back. “You mean in the Frog Choir?”
“In the Frog Choir -- and as a Prefect.”
Carewyn was taken aback.
Felix’s sunken-in eyes were glinting with a bit of mischief. “Indeed. I think I may have to pass along a recommendation to both Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape, before I leave.”
He got to his feet, sliding half of his hand into his pocket so that it was resting on his hip.
“Come along, then -- best get you off to the commonroom before curfew. And I expect that when you get that little badge, you’ll send me some post thanking me for my support.”
[Enjoy Felix’s character playlist here! // Carewyn’s dress based on the pink dress pictured here // read the first Father’s Day post featuring my HPMA Anastasia “Ana” Read and her stepfather Bradley Pinkstone here!]
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