135 Pretending to Sleep
Arth quickly returned to the great hall and pretended as though he had been in his sleeping bag the entire time.
Hermione was livid.
"Where were you this entire time? You know how much trouble you would've gotten in if you got caught?"
Arth gave her an apologetic expression before sliding into his sleeping bag. Seeing that Arth was unwilling to give an answer, Hermione humphed before turning her head away from Arth.
Once every hour, a teacher would reappear in the hall to check that everything was quiet.
Around three in the morning, when many students had finally fallen asleep, Professor Dumbledore came in. Arth watched him looking around for Percy, who had been prowling between the sleeping bags, telling people off for talking.
Percy was only a short way away from Arth, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who quickly pretended to be asleep as Dumbledore's footsteps drew nearer.
"Any sign of him, Professor?" asked Percy in a whisper.
"No. All well here?"
"Everything under control, sir."
Arth couldn't help but snicker as he could see a bunch of opened eyes listening to the conversation.
"Good. There's no point moving them all now. I've found a temporary guardian for the Gryffindor portrait hole. You'll be able to move them back in tomorrow."
"And the Fat Lady, sir?"
"Hiding in a map of Argyllshire on the second floor. Apparently she refused to let Black in without the password, so he attacked. She's still very distressed, but once she's calmed down, I'll have Mr. Filch restore her."
Arth heard the door of the hall creak open again, and more footsteps.
"Headmaster?" It was Snape. "The whole of the third floor has been searched. He's not there. And Filch has done the dungeons; nothing there either."
"What about the Astronomy tower? Professor Trelawney's room? The Owlery?"
"All searched . . ."
"Very well, Severus. I didn't really expect Black to linger."
"Have you any theory as to how he got in, Professor?" asked Snape.
"Many, Severus, each of them as unlikely as the next."
How was it that Sirius Black was able to enter and escape unnoticed?
Arth gave a quick glance towards where Dumbledore and Snape stood. Dumbledore's back was to him, but he could see Percy's face, rapt with attention, and Snape's profile, which looked angry.
"You remember the conversation we had, Headmaster, just before — ah — the start of term?" said Snape, who was barely opening his lips, as though trying to block Percy out of the conversation.
"I do, Severus," said Dumbledore, and there was something like warning in his voice.
"It seems — almost impossible — that Black could have entered the school without inside help. I did express my concerns when you appointed —"
Arth raised an eyebrow.
"I do not believe a single person inside this castle would have helped Black enter it," said Dumbledore, and his tone made it so clear that the subject was closed that Snape didn't reply.
"I must go down to the dementors," said Dumbledore. "I said I would inform them when our search was complete."
"Didn't they want to help, sir?" said Percy.
"Oh yes," said Dumbledore coldly. "But I'm afraid no dementor will cross the threshold of this castle while I am headmaster."
Percy looked slightly abashed. Dumbledore left the hall, walking quickly and quietly. Snape stood for a moment, watching the head- master with an expression of deep resentment on his face; then he too left.
Arth glanced sideways at Ron Harry and Hermione. All three of them had their eyes open too, reflecting the starry ceiling.
"What was all that about?" Ron mouthed.
Arth gave a silent shrug.
Snape seemed to have some suspicions on a person in the school... by the sounds of it, a teacher. Their Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
Professor Snape seemed to hate Professor Lupin from the beginning, however, were his concerns based on logical reasoning or because of a petty animosity between the two?
It was better for him to just go to sleep now.
Arth wiggled deeper into the sleeping bag and closed his eyes.
He was pretty sure that Sirius Black wouldn't strike again and that his motive wasn't Harry. He had nothing to worry about.
He was safe for now.