* * *
Chapter 10 – Confusion
A few weeks had passed and before Dawn knew it, it had been over a month since she’d started at Hogwarts. So far, Hogwarts had been like nothing else Dawn had ever experienced. She was finally happy again, closer to accepting her mother’s death from before she moved to England.
The weather was getting cooler, leaves were falling off the trees and winter would be in a couple of months. The day was a particularly cold, autumn day and the first years sat in the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, waiting for their Professor. It was the final class for the day.
“Where’s Willow?” Ron asked, getting concerned, even though they were missing out on class time waiting for her. “She’s usually here all cheery and enthusiastic.”
“She’ll be here.” Hermione assured, not liking the fact that there might not be a Defence Against the Dark Arts class today.
All heads in the classroom turned as the door in the classroom opened loudly. Instead of it being Willow, like they were expecting, Professor McGonagall appeared in the doorway.
“First years, Professor Rosenburg is unable to make it to her class today, she is ill and a replacement couldn’t be found.” McGonagall explained loudly to the class. “Please make your way back to your common rooms to study, and quietly please. I don’t want to catch any of you in the corridors, disturbing classes.”
With that she disappeared and everyone in the room jumped up off their chairs, making a quick exit from the room.
“I wonder what’s wrong.” Dawn worried as the four walked in a line down the corridor.
“Well we could go find out,” Hermione suggested, looking at Dawn. “We could visit her.”
“McGonagall just said that she’s sick, it’s probably a cold since it’s getting closer to winter.” Ron reasoned. “I’m going up to the common room. Anyone coming?”
“I will.” Harry spoke up.
“Up for a game of chess? I’m determined to beat you.” Harry joked as he and Ron walked off and around the corner.
“Well, it looks like it’s just us.” Dawn smiled as they headed to Willow’s office, talking as they went.
* * *
“And then Willow spent the whole day at home because she was so humiliated.” Dawn trailed off, finishing her story about her Sunnydale days.
Before they’d knew it, they’d reached their Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher’s office and the door stood right in front of them. Even though it was at least a 5 or 10 minute walk through the castle, it had seemed like nothing because the girls spent the time talking, sharing stories.
Hermione reached for the door handle, but just before her hand made contact, the knob started to turn, squeaking slightly. The two young girls followed their first instincts and dashed around the nearest corner, out of sight.
They didn’t exactly know why they did, but they figured that if it was Professor McGonagall and she caught them wandering the corridors like she had told them not to, then they’d get into trouble.
They watched as a person opened the door and turned to walk up past them. It wasn’t Professor McGonagall, but they didn’t reveal themselves anyway as it was Willow.
“But Professor McGonagall said she was sick!” Hermione whispered to Dawn in confusion.
Dawn and Hermione silenced and tried to blend into the shadows as Willow walked past the corner they were hiding around. Luckily, they didn’t catch her attention and she just continued walking along the corridor.
“Why did Professor McGonagall say that she was sick?” Dawn pondered as they stood waiting for a minute.
“Maybe she didn’t know that she wasn’t sick.” Hermione suggested.
“Well, come one, I know Willow’s a friend, but I’m too curious to not follow her and find out what’s happening.” Dawn replied and they raced down the corridor, tracking Willow.
They were hot on Willow’s trail as she wandered the castle. She then exited the castle and started across the grounds of Hogwarts.
Since it was late in the afternoon, the sun was low in the sky and the castle and the surrounding trees shadowed the grounds considerably. Hermione and Dawn tried to blend into the shadows as they walked along.
Willow paused on the spot temporarily, as if she knew someone was tracing her movements around Hogwarts. She whisked out her wand and muttered some spell. Her wand was returned to her pocket and she continued on, walking at a faster pace.
“What was that for?” Hermione asked Dawn from the tree they were hiding behind.
“Is that mist?” Dawn said, peering her head around the tree to look in Willow’s direction.
There was a smoke or mist cloud gathering on the ground around them. They couldn’t see a thing that wasn’t about two metres in front of them.
“At this time of the day,” Hermione stated glancing at the clouds. “This is the result of Professor Rosenburg’s spell. She obviously knew that someone was following her.”
With that, they walked blindly through the cloud, and towards the castle, or so they hoped. Luckily for them, the cloud quickly began to dissipate so they could see where they were going. There was definitely no sign of Willow.
They ran most of the way back to their common room to talk to Harry and Ron about what they’d just witnessed.
* * *
“Checkmate!” Ron called out happily, beating Harry again at their second game. “Play again?”
Harry shook his head. “You don’t get tired of winning over me, do you?” He joked.
They were both quietly laughing when Hermione and Dawn came rushing into the room, drawing a bit of attention to themselves.
“What’s wrong?” Harry questioned, noticing their rushed entrance through the Portrait hole.
“We went to see Professor Rosenburg, as you know.” Hermione gasped in between breaths.
Dawn took over. “Well anyway, she wasn’t sick like she told Professor McGonagall. We went to her office just as she was leaving it.”
“We instinctively hid as she came out the door. She looked like she had somewhere to be, she was in a hurry.” Hermione continued.
Dawn nodded her head in agreement. “The weirdest thing was, that when we were following her outside. She did a spell, as if she knew someone was following her, and this smoke or mist cloud formed and she disappeared.”
“I wonder what she was up to. I’ve known her all my life. It couldn’t be bad, could it?” Ron stated, showing some doubt.
“Well, we can’t ignore that note we found a few weeks back.” Harry reminded them. “Maybe it has something to do with that?”
Hermione shook her head. “This could all just be something personal, and we’re meddling in it.”