25. Are you Leaving or are you Staying?

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It was quite late at night when I left Minerva's office. She was heading to her personal quarters, retiring for the night, and I was heading to the Gryffindor common room to do the same.

But instead of heading there, my feet carried me elsewhere. Step by step they took me through empty hallways and narrow corridors, through secret passages and ample halls. Empty rooms filled with nothing but shadows and corridors lined with armors and statues. High-domed windows casting an eerie light on the shadowy floor, the darkness permeated with a heavy silence.

A part of me wished to go to Severus. To head to the dungeons and to his personal quarters. To see him. Talk to him. Touch him.

Shaking my head at the ridiculousness of those thoughts my feet continued their journey, my head a hundred miles away. Well, that wasn't entirely true. They were several floors down, specifically pertaining the chambers of a certain Potions Master.

My body was on auto-pilot, moving with an ease and grace that had nothing to do with my confused state of mind and tired and beaten body. Years of practice had me moving soundlessly through the castle, feet padding along the cold stone with barely the whisper of a hushed footfall.

For Merlin's sake! I was a grown witch with 200 years of life experience under her belt! I was a Charms Mistress and a Potions Mistress! And yet here I was, acting like a bloody hormonal teenage witch when it came to Severus freaking Snape. All I wished for was a little maturity. A bit of grace. Maybe some last remnants of dignity. But apparently that wasn't meant to be. I was stuck here, pretending to be some seventeen-year-old witch still in bloody school, while in my free time moonlighting as some secret ambassador for all sorts of Magical species in need of an allegiance in the upcoming war against darkness itself.

Bloody fantastic.

Ranting against myself about my own weakness and stupidity, I couldn't help the thought of Minerva's words popping back into my head. She'd lost the love of her life and still found happiness. Could I do the same? The thought was ridiculous. Despite everything, no matter how hurt I had felt or how many times we fought, I knew that deep down he was mine like I was his. He just didn't want to accept it. And I most certainly couldn't force him.

Now I was heading towards the spiral staircase that lead to the entrance of Gryffindor Common Room. But before I reached it I heard a noise. The sound of hurried footsteps echoed down the stairwell and I could hear hurried breathing, right before a fifth-year student ran past me. He didn't even see me, and he was gone before I could stop him. He seemed upset, and something was clearly the matter.My enhanced hearing caught some disturbing noises from upstairs, excited voices and worried whispers. Then a painful groan and someone shouting 'Harry!'...

I was climbing the steps before even consciously making the decision, and once I reached the Fat Lady and gave her the password, she swung open and the sounds intensified to a cacophony.

Inside the Boy's Dormitory I found a clearly distressed Ron standing next to Harry's bed, who was clutching his head in pain, the bed-sheets crumpled and his body soaked in cold sweat. I was at his bedside in the blink of an eye, pressing a hand against Harry's forehead as he muttered something about Arthur Weasley being attacked by a giant snake.

His words made my blood run cold. after all I knew that Lord Voldemort himself had taken a special liking to his enormous serpent companion, Nagini. Ron and the other boys seemed worried and skeptical, but when Minerva burst into the dormitory, wearing plaid pajamas with a checkered pattern that would have been comical if it hadn't been or the serious expression on her face.

When she admitted she believed Harry, I could see Ron visibly pale, and once McGonagall escorted the two of them to Albus's office she gave me a look that told me enough. I was waking up Fred and George and also getting Ginny when Minerva returned, to also escort them to the Headmaster's office. But before she left with the rest of the Weasley's I stopped her, grasping her upper arm in in an iron hold, forcing her to stop and look at me.

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