Crossing the lawn, Rowan slipped through the front entrance to find a group of professors glaring straight at her. "I went for an early morning walk," Rowan hastily said. For it was no lie, she'd gone for a very long walk. All night long until morning.
"Miss Prince, I am most disappointed in you," Professor Slughorn said as he stared down at his house member. "Your dormmates reported you missing late last night, and we have been scouring the entire school for you all night long! What do you have to say for yourself, young lady?!
Not able to think of a feasible excuse, Rowan sighs and says, "I'm sure detention and loss of points are in order."
"You are most certainly right, Miss Prince!" Professor Slughorn sputtered. "Three weeks' worth of detention!" Professor Slughorn quickly noticed the glares from his associates and hastily adds, "And twenty points from Slytherin!"
"Yes, sir," Rowan tiredly said as she headed back to the Slytherin quarters. Yawning barely able to keep her eyes open, she managed to make it into the common room, where five pairs of eyes were glowering at her.
"Good morning," Rowan yawned again unable to help herself as her exhaustion finally seemed to have hit her.
"Where were you?!" Severus growled as the girls glared in the background at Rowan in stern emphasis.
"I was out walking," Rowan stretched as if that solved everything.
"All night long!" Bethanie shouted from behind Severus.
"It was a long walk," Rowan grumbled back as she firmly added, "Well, I'm going to bed." Ignoring their furious stares, Rowan headed up the stairs to final go to sleep she was utterly exhausted. And she had more than earned a good night's sleep!
Gaping the five of them stare at the retreating back of Rowan up the stairs. "Well, I never!" Bethanie fumed as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Did she just ignore us?" Terry said with incredulity in his eyes.
"Could she have been out with Potter and them?" Tiffany suddenly asked. "I mean she is friends with them."
Silvia shook her head and said, "Bethanie had Slughorn go and look for her there first. But apparently according to Professor McGonagall, they were all safely in bed."
"Then where could she have gone?" Severus protested throwing his arms up in frustration.
"For a walk apparently," Terry drily concluded as he picked up a fallen leaf that had trailed off Rowan's clothes.
"All night long?" Severus growled in disbelief.
"Apparently," Terry murmured as he twirls the leaf between his fingertips.
"Could have it been with a boy?" Tiffany suspiciously said as the rest of them made faces at the mere suggestion.
"Who was out with a boy?" A familiar voice asked from behind them.
"Rowan," Tiffany instantly answered as the figure of Wilkes stiffened before them.
"She was out all night?" Wilkes repeated himself.
"Yes, but we don't know with who or why!" Tiffany firmly said. "I mean, she wasn't out with the troublesome four Gryffindor's. And those are the only real male friends Rowan has outside of our own house. I mean, if it's not them, who else could it be?"
"Well, there's Lovegood and Abbot," Severus was unable to stop himself from saying.
"Who?" Everyone turned to glance over at Severus.
Sighing, Severus says, "I mean, thanks to Herbology and Gobbledegook, she's become very friendly with Andrew Abbot, a Hufflepuff in our year. And as for Xenophilius Lovegood, he's a 4th year Ravenclaw in our goblin course. She quite admires him, I think. I've seen her gaze up at him with rapt attention on more than one occasion."
"Wait, the pale blond, who is slightly cross-eyed?" The girls shrieked in disbelief.
"Yes, that's him," Severus sadly said.
"I always knew Rowan had weird tastes in men," Terry shuddered picturing the image of the two of them together.
"But then again, she does like them blond," Tiffany sagely mused as everyone recalled Rowan's rare admiration of the blond Hufflepuff quidditch captain, Edmund Macmillan.
"I mean, they still could be friends, couldn't they?" Silvia lamely said as the rest of the shuddered lost in thought.
Wilkes was rather quiet as he walked past them and out of the common room area. This immediately reminded them that they were still in their night robes. They all staggered back to get dressed before breakfast.
Down in the Great Hall, the five of them poked at their breakfast as a rather excited fourth year took a seat not too far away from them. "Did you hear?" The fourth-year whispered to his friends. "Apparently Prince was caught this morning by the Professors having stayed out all night."
The fourth-year pauses for effect before saying, "And do you know who walked in minutes after her having spent the entire night out as well?"
"Wait, who?" The friends excitedly asked as the five of them as well leaned over to intently listen to the answer.
"A 4th year Ravenclaw by the name of Xenophilius Lovegood!" The fourth-year exclaimed as Severus fell out of his seat, while Terry began to choke on his spoonful of oatmeal. Tiffany's mouth flopped open with a mouthful of food as Bethanie's spoon clattered onto her plate splattering her clothes, while Silvia looked like she was about to faint.
"I know right?" The fourth-year said over the juicy gossip. "And when asked by the professor why he was out. He said, "It was a good night for a walk under the stars as Mars had been rather usually bright!"
Severus somehow weakly staggers back into his seat as Terry wheezes and wipes the tears out of his eyes. Tiffany finally closes her mouth shut as Bethanie clutches her napkin a little too harshly as she wipes the oatmeal off her clothes. Silvia merely laid her head in her arms as if trying to make sense of the world. It was though the entire world had suddenly been turned on its head.
"And how can you be so sure?" Exclaimed a speculative friend of the Slytherin fourth year. The five Slytherin second years ears perked up to listen as they leaned in to listen.
"Well, I heard it from a friend, who heard it from Bertha Jorkins," the fourth year-proudly said. "You know that she's in part of Hogwarts News and all. And besides, she's a fifth-year Ravenclaw herself. Apparently, she heard the whole commotion straight from Professor Flitwick's mouth!"
Their despair is one more clearly felt as the five of them are utterly silent for the rest of the meal and somehow rather dumbly make their way back to the common room area in utter shock. Slumped across various couches they are silent for what seem like hours until Severus sits up. "It simply must be a coincidence!"
"There's no such thing as coincidence," Terry and Silvia said in unison as they each shared a glance.
Severus finally allows his head to drop into his hands in frustration. "I don't really mind, I don't. But I'd wish she hadn't snuck out for a boy like him," Severus rather muffled said. The three girls nod their heads in agreement. If one was going to sneak out it should at least be for someone cute.
"Well, I'm sure it's just a phase," Bethanie comfortingly said. "Crushes like this rarely ever last for long." Terry merely arched his eyebrow and pointed at Severus with one hand. Bethanie glares back but doesn't retort back.
"Well, we might as well enjoy the rest of our Easter holiday," Terry finally said. "Anyone up for a game of wizarding chess?"
"I'll accept that challenge," Silvia said as she rose to her feet and walked over to a chess set. The two of them began to play as the rest of the watched lost in thought. Either way, it was at least a good distraction for the rest of the morning.