It was late Sunday evening, when Reginald and Georgine apparated the twins to Hogsmeade. Waiting for them at the edge of the town was the solemn silver-haired figure of Albus Dumbledore. Rowan and Severus were now wearing the washed, but same outfit from Friday. They quietly adjusted their bags as they didn't know quite what to say. But Reginald and Georgine in a rare public display of affection gave them each a hug, before apparating away.
Clutching their book bags, Rowan and Severus both nodded in greeting at Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore sadly peers at them from behind his half-moon spectacles. "Come now, a carriage is waiting for us at the edge of Hogsmeade." The two of them quietly followed him back to the carriage, before boarding after him.
The entire carriage ride is silent as Rowan and Severus clutched each other's hands hidden by their robe sleeves. Dumbledore pretended he couldn't see their actions, but still even he didn't miss their pain.
Rowan was much better at hiding her emotions than Severus, but still, her emotions were plainly visible in the stiffness of her lips and the coldness in her eyes. Severus despite having quite poker face himself was unable to hide the periodic clenching of his lips as he bit back his emotions. The only good bit of news to the entire dreadful mess is that they'd have plenty of things to occupy their mind in the meanwhile.
By the time the carriage arrived at Hogwarts, Dumbledore said, "Dinner has long since passed, but I'm sure I can have the kitchens send something up."
"Thank you, Professor Dumbledore, but that won't be necessary. We aren't hungry," Rowan declined as Severus grunted in agreement.
"Very well then, I won't try to change either of your minds," Dumbledore gently said. "But would either of you like a Dreamless sleep potion for the night?"
"It's better this way," Severus croaked. "We can't afford to have such a crutch." With a final wave of goodbye, the two of them turned away and stride off towards the dungeons.
Dumbledore is silent as he watches the pair of them go, before striding away to his own office lost in thought. It had come as quite the surprise to himself as much as anyone that his apprentices bore the lineage of Godric Gryffindor and Helga Hufflepuff as well. However, it certainly made sense why both of them had the potential to be very powerful. Four powerful bloodlines had been combined together to create a very powerful witch and wizard. He had the strong inkling that they would come to surpass him given enough time. And unlike his past younger self, the two of them had none of his arrogance.
A wistful smile crosses Dumbledore's face as he recalls the simple action of his apprentices holding their hands. Despite their being in public, they still clung to each other. And from everything he had seen the two of them truly loved each other. Oh yes, they fought like any pair of siblings, but they'd always put the other twin before themselves. And that was something to be commended for.
Dumbledore's own smile fades away as he recalls his own arrogance and folly. Closing his eyes against the pain he clears his mind from the terrible memories of that day. That day in which Ariana lost her life. He'd been a terrible brother and even more of an abysmal guardian.
There were days where he even dared to admit out loud that Aberforth was right along. He'd been much too arrogant and selfish in his youth. And the final cost was everything he'd ever held dear. The price not been worth all of his ambition, but at that time, he'd been so foolish and blind to believe otherwise.
Blinking the old pain away from his eyes, Dumbledore's eyes focus as he recalls the letter with information from Moody. Antonin Dolohov and Rodolphus Lestrange had been seen in the vicinity by a squib prisoner serving time at the penitentiary where Tobias Snape had been located at. The two men hadn't even bothered to hide their faces nor much less their voices as the squib had been located in the next-door cell to the left.
It was presumed that given that the squib had heard Antonin Dolohov cast the Avada Kedavra spell and Lestrange protest it had all been Dolohov's doing. And following that line of logic, the natural conclusion was that Dolohov was also responsible for the dark mark cast over the prison. For certain Antonin Dolohov was confirmed as belonging to the ring of dark wizards with Rodolphus Lestrange more than likely to be a part as well.
Dumbledore frowns as he recalls the young orphan, Tom Marvolo Riddle, who was on friendly terms with them. The same young man who was now accused of murdering his entire muggle family and pinning it on his uncle, Marvolo Gaunt. His eyes flicker in remembrance of 1967 when that same young man applied for the position of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Riddle had been closely followed by a group of friends then, Mulciber Sr, Nott Sr, Antonin Dolohov, Lestrange Sr., Rosier Sr., and Marvin Avery Sr. But since then Lestrange Sr had died while the rest of them by all accounts with the exception of Dolohov no longer associated themselves with said young man nor knew of his whereabouts.
It might be prudent of the order to look further into these men, but more importantly, exactly where had Tom Marvolo Riddle disappeared too? Dumbledore only too clearly recalled their first meeting where a pale, poor orphaned boy whispered of the things he could do. But he'd turned to be a reasonably excellent boy with plenty of friends, a charmer, and rather brilliant. He'd not only gone on to be a Prefect and Head Boy. But yet, Dumbledore had often found himself watching the boy after Myrtle Warren's death.
Dumbledore knew that he could lie to himself, but he saw something there that made him be filled with unease. He still didn't know what nor he could put his finger on it. But it was there, and he now recognized that feeling. It was dread and caution. There was something undoubtedly wrong with Tom Marvolo Riddle.
With that in mind, Dumbledore began to write a letter to Moody asking if he'd found out anything else on Tom Marvolo Riddle. As he recalled, Auror Moody had been assigned to the case. But as of yet, there wasn't much to show. Yet, Dumbledore had the inkling that Tom Marvolo Riddle was the key to everything. Not long after the letter went out leaving Dumbledore to gaze out of his window into the night sky. It'd be many hours before he finally went to bed to only arise early the next morning. A headmaster's duty was never easy nor ever done with.