1. She was born on the kitchen floor.
It was a dark and stormy night. No, really. The visibility was non-existent, the roads too dangerous for the motorbike that usually did them fine the mile or so from Caeathro to Caernarfon. Her father wasn't willing to risk Apparating with a woman in labor, and they didn't have a Floo at their house, so they simply made do. Making do was nothing new to the Glynnis family, or really anyone in the technicality of a village at the edge of the Snowdonia mountains. Her father bundled up and found a neighbor who had done the business before, and within a few hours there was a lot of mess and a fine, healthy baby girl bawling her lungs out nearly as loud as her mother had been.
2. Her first memory was eating sheep dung for fifty pence.
In retrospect, she should definitely have held out for more, but to a four year old, the coin was absolutely huge, and it could buy a good fistful of sweeties at the service station. The stuff hadn't been that bad, either, if she was honest about it. Kind of grassy tasting and dank, mostly. Like some kind of mushroom and green pepper paste with a little bit of sandiness and the aftertaste of really cheap beans. It was seeing the reactions of the other children that had taught her a far more valuable lesson than the fifty pence: it wasn't so much about what you did, but what other people thought of it that decided how big a deal it was.
3. She really hated tourists.
It didn't matter if they were headed from the mountains to the castle or the castle to the mountains. They were always lost - there was one bloody road - and always hailed her like she was some kind of bloody servant. "Oi, girl!" And where is the caravan park. Nothing in the village BUT the caravan park, and they always had to ask. Or they wanted to know about the castles or Snowdon or where to get a pint or how far to Cardiff - and anyone asking for Cardiff in Gwynedd was automatically an American - or how to pronounce this or that (There needed to be signs posted that informed the bastards there were no new jokes to make about Welsh spelling. None.) or wanting a picture beside the stupidest things. By the time she was eight, she was seeing what she could get them to believe things were actually called, by ten she was chucking dirt clods at the cars with the lads and pranking the caravans. At twelve she convinced an Australian that they imported all their sheep because Wales had run out and had him looking for the "made in Australia" tattoos on the inside of their ears.
4. She went to her first Quidditch game and developed her first crush the same day.
She was six, and Gwenog Jones was a goddess in green and gold. Seventeen and their star new Seeker, she flew like she'd been born with wings and had never heard of gravity. Her Dad was a Harpies fan and she'd mucked about playing at the game with kids in the area before, but by the time she left the pitch, the only thing she could imagine ever making her happy was being just like that. From that day forward, any Knut of pocket money went directly to club merchandise or game tickets, and she literally passed out from excitement when Jones made team Captain. It was adoration on every level she could comprehend and several she didn't until she was older - Gwenog really did incredible things to those skintight white trousers - but she had the determination and the athletic prowess to back it, and by fourteen, she was on track to meet the qualifications for a Harpies tryout when she finished school.
5. She had no little girl friends…for very long.
She tried, and her Mum tried harder. It would always start out well enough, with Rowan doing her best to play house or dress-up, and they weren't bad games. They were just boring. She really did want to spend time with the other little girls, but it always wound up with someone crying or her Mum being told that she wasn't welcome back. It was frustrating and made her feel like she was failing at existing somehow in a way that knotted her stomach with a deep, chill guilt especially when she saw the look on her Mum's face when she thought Rowan wasn't looking. She had tried. Honest. It wasn't fair that none of them thought Quidditch was as important as she did, or that she'd apparently been the only one to think things would be more interesting if the baby doll was eaten by dragon pirates who farted Dementors. The girl's brother had thought that one was inspired.
6. Her father found her "tomboy streak" amusing at first. Her mother worried about it.
When she was young, he laughed that he'd always wanted a pile of boys and loved that he didn't have to do one thing with her older brother and another with her. He'd had grand fun taking her to Quidditch games, teaching her to set rabbit snares and skin her catch, do a proper press-up and throw a punch, and he'd bragged her to his mates as better than any of their sons. She'd worshiped him, and he'd doted on her…but then things had started to change as she got older. He started pulling away, trying to get her to spend more time with her Mum, suggesting that she was getting "too big for this." She heard him tell her Mum it was a phase, and he'd sounded so guilty, even as he promised she'd "get better". Her Mum said it was okay, it wasn't his fault. Mum said Rowan just needed to meet the right boy and it would "sort itself." Except she didn't sound like she believed it.
7. She had a great knack for mechanical engineering without even really trying.
Maybe it was the mindset she had developed from playing such a three-dimensional game, maybe it was the hours spent helping other boys and their brothers jury-rig things out of old lawnmower and motorbike engines and bits of scrap, or the absolute determination to throw nothing away if there was some possibility of repairing it or remaking it into something else. Maybe it was just her pigheaded tendency to go right if everyone else was going left. But there wasn't much she couldn't make out of a handful of rubbish or repair with a wad of gum and some string. She once fixed the brakes on Morag's broom mid-game with the wire stay and laces out of her bracers without Hooch even noticing anything had gone wrong.
8. She had difficulties in school with abstract or interpretive concepts.
How big, how far, when, who, how many. These were all things she could get, and she got great marks when it was stuff that actually had answers. It was even easy enough in history at first, when they just told you why folks did things and you wrote the same back to them on the exam. Then they started in on asking you to get philosophical about books instead of just tell them back so they knew you'd honestly read them, and there were ridiculous bits like asking for essays about the symbolism of the feelings evoked by the poet's imagery in the oh please just burn it before she jammed her quill in her eye. She got in trouble more than once for writing versions of "Who even cares?" in the assignment space.
9. She was a tomboy who hated to be dirty. This baffled her too.
In the thick of things, she didn't care or even notice, but as soon as the dust had settled, she became incredibly aware of the texture of her skin. Sweat, grease, blood, grit, mud, or just about anything else became absolutely unbearable, and she had to shower immediately. It was the same reason she couldn't handle more than the tiniest amount of makeup. She could feel it, gross and nasty and begging her to wipe it off. The lads laughed at her sometimes for it when she was young, the way she'd flying tackle them into a mud puddle then burst into tears if she couldn't get clean again soon enough. That usually just got blood added to the mess.
10. It never occurred to her to protest dresses.
Long hair was unacceptable. Jones had short hair, and so did most of the Quidditch pros. Long hair got in the way, it needed fussing with, it came down at the worst possible times. She won that battle before she'd even lost her first baby teeth, but dresses were something she simply accepted. Jones wore them at special events in the magazines, and even though Rowan believed she herself looked incredibly stupid in them and they were awkward as hell to move in, they were lumped in with chalky protein shakes and tourists and chafing raw when you had to play in the rain as things that were just crappy parts of life. When Vicky told her she didn't have to, it was a truly grand epiphany. When she saw herself for the first time dressed up in slacks, a collared shirt, and a waistcoat, it was the first time she'd liked something in the mirror that wasn't about muscle definition or game-winning bruises.
11. She had a pet parrot that she inherited from her great aunt when she was twelve.
The grandiosely named Adar Llwch Gwin was a fat little bastard of a budgie who bit anyone else who came near and lived more or less exclusively on McVities, but he'd liked her since she was a toddler, and the feeling was oddly mutual, even if she wasn't sure why. He wasn't a particularly interesting parrot, he refused to talk, and he wouldn't ride around on her shoulder. Mostly he just sat there and stared or fussed at himself, but he sometimes gave her these looks that were knowing enough to make her shiver. So he wasn't very good at parrot. She wasn't very good at person. And he could play dead and hang from her hand when she made green sparks, which was funny.
12. She loved hip-hop and R&B.
So she had trouble following the words when the flow got too fast, and she knew she was missing a lot of the cultural references in the American stuff, but she loved the sound of it, the pulse and the cheek and the anger and the drive that was so perfect for workouts. It made her feel cockier and sexier than anything Madonna or the Spice Girls ever came out with (though to hell with Welsh nationalism, Geri Halliwell had her sure as hell ready to swear allegiance to every inch of that Union Jack), and she felt like she could sing along with a fair enough bit of it despite her iffy relationship with pitch. Besides, it really helped her regulate her breathing. Wu-Tang Clan, Mark B, DJ Skitz, and TLC were just about the only things that could compete with Harpies merchandise in her budget, and she would stay up to the wee hours of the morning trying to pick up wireless from Manchester.
13. Her backup plan was to be the first female dragon wrangler.
Pro Quidditch was brutal and heartless and had no guarantees. By the time Rowan was ten, she understood. She'd seen enough brilliant players lose everything on stupid accidents or injuries, be traded to nothing teams in purely business maneuvers, or even just fall out of favor with the fans for no good reason at all and be let go in favor of some up and coming broombuster. There had to be a secondary option - even if there was no way she was going to call it a "real" plan like some people said she needed because Quidditch WAS the only "real" plan - and it had to be one she could be proper satisfied with. Living near enough to the Reserve, it had been a fairly easy choice. She was going to be dragon wrangler. The physical requirements had been seen as practically banning witches from the profession, but she knew they were within her reach, and she'd been slowly training herself to handle greater and greater levels of heat and fire. The short hair definitely helped with that.
14. She thought for a while that she might be transgendered.
She had no such word for it, of course. Rowan just knew that she was an abject failure at "girl" and while she didn't exactly want to be a boy, it would definitely make matters a hell of a lot easier. "Boy" she could do right. "Boy" she understood. When she could pass as "boy," no one tried to correct her or rolled their eyes or sighed or looked disgusted. "Boys" were supposed to look at fit, pretty girls and feel their mouths go dry, their brains turn to mush, their hands itch to cup soft, teasing curves and their stomachs churn with terrifyingly intense yearning and lust. Girls weren't supposed to lust at all. She definitely lusted. And she knew her mother was wrong. No matter what she hoped, there was no way she was going to meet some boy and suddenly turn into everything girl was supposed to be. She wanted to be a boy because she hated failing, hated losing. It wasn't until Vicky that she learned about dyke not just being a cruel name older tomboys were called. The first time she understood what "butch" really meant, she cried. The next day was the first since getting them that she didn't try to hide her breasts.
15. She sometimes cut.
It had started as a way to toughen herself, to inure herself to pain after a few serious Bludger hits had made her cry on the pitch. But her relationship with pain was something that had already been made…odd by the brutal workouts she and Fritz pushed themselves and each other through, and so perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise that it felt good in its own twisted way. It was calming. Steady. Controlled. Testing herself where and how she could slash without flinching. Feeling the endorphin surge and the sense of mastery over that most basic instinct not to inflict harm on your own body. She could tell herself it was a purely physical challenge. Pretend it didn't happen more when she'd been called particularly brutal names, been reminded that she might be passable "handsome" but she would never be mistaken for pretty or beautiful, hated herself for something, felt like a failure, especially in the last year. Magic made it easy enough to fix, and there were only a few barely noticeable marks from where she had accidentally gone too deep.
16. Her favorite thing in the world after a hard game or workout was a big bag of salty, greasy chips dipped in Nutella.
Fritz was horrified. He was as fanatical about nutrition as he was about his training, and she respected that. But she also knew that she had a metabolism like a Swedish Shortsnout and could eat more or less whatever she bloody well pleased and she was still working more than hard enough to have a six-pack most of the lads could only dream of. And he didn't know what he was missing. It sounded gross, but it was as close to heaven as you could get in public and off a broomstick.
17. She never let herself get drunk, but she faked it once.
Rowan was from North Wales. She was as familiar with drinking culture as breathing culture, and that was exactly the problem. She'd seen too many people wake up in dried puddles of their own sick or piss themselves, and it made her just too paranoid. Oh, she'd have one or two, just to keep from being seen as a stiff, but after that she knew all the tricks to make it seem like she was keeping pace without getting in trouble, so most thought she just held it really well. The only time she'd ever gone over like she was soused was one she'd never forgive herself for, and was responsible for at least a half dozen lines on the side of her thigh. Even if everyone else - even Ernie - had laughed, even if Susan had been drunk for real, even if it had just been one really good snog, it was beyond wrong to fake being pissed to make it with a bride at her wedding reception. Especially if you had a girlfriend. Especially if you did it because you'd wanted to for years and knew there'd never be another chance.
18. She saved Zach Smith's life.
He was the only one over seventeen and out of Slytherin left, and it didn't take Merlin to figure out that he probably knew shit. What's more - although the Carrows and Snape couldn't know it - he was no longer covered by the Fidelius. The fury Rowan had felt towards him when he'd first left the DA had long since been replaced with profound respect, but it wasn't her place to let him back in, and there was no reasoning with Colin. Stupid Gryffindor. It was a "matter of principle." Well, it wasn't a matter of principle when that pig Alecto had one of his teeth out while he was tied to the chair in the common room. She'd hoped either he'd break or someone watching would, but all she'd done was have him turning blue, the same Body-Bind that kept him from fighting her keeping him from swallowing or spitting out the blood in his mouth, and she was right that in a way, Rowan broke. Except instead of spilling information, she handled being wandless by smashing the drip plate on the communal tea urn and diving to cut Carrow's Achilles tendon, dropping her and allowing Zach's throat to be cleared before he choked. The resulting beating and Crucio had been epic, but she'd still done more damage to that bitch than anyone else had inflicted on any of their tormentors all year. Even if it was healed up quick enough.
19. She died on her sixteenth birthday.
The job was simple. Buy time for Potter. The problem was simple; Ginny was not only Potter's heart out there in the middle of the battlefield like the center hoop, she was a brilliantly ginger member of the most hated family in the wizarding world as far as the Death Eaters were concerned. She was fighting to shame a hellcat, but she was outnumbered three to one and she was losing ground. Rowan had trained her, worked with her for uncounted hours, and she knew Ginny's weakness was defense. At the moment, her attackers were being pressed too hard to realize that, but she'd start tiring soon and…no. A part of her must have already decided, already known, because by the time she knew what she was doing, she'd already sprinted halfway across the field. Ginny had to be protected. If she went down and Potter saw…he was a Gryffindor. He'd do something moronic and they'd all be screwed. So she took the post and took the hits and took in the shock in the eyes behind the silver mask that had no idea how to deal with a girl who had never played by the rules.
20. When Ginny was recruited to the Harpies, she bargained for Rowan's memory.
Rowan had never once failed to finish a game, and the Healers could never believe, looking at the wreckage of her body, that she had been able to stand and fight until the cease-fire was called, even if she had died mere minutes later in Ginny's arms. Her death certificate read "Valor Above And Beyond" as the cause and she was given a posthumous Order of Merlin, but Ginny knew those accolades would have meant little or nothing to her. When she was offered the position on the Holyhead Harpies, Ginny almost didn't take it. She felt like it was stealing from the girl who had given her everything, but thankfully, Jones understood. She offered to let Ginny wear Rowan's number and make sure everyone knew what it stood for, and Ginny agreed…on one condition.
As of 2 May, 2000, the first day Ginny Weasley played for the Holyhead Harpies, their home stadium has been officially named Glynnis Pitch.