The nights were growing longer. Perhaps not in truth but in feel, they were. With each passing moment, they seemed no closer to catching the killer than the last. With each passing moment, the terror that filled their nights seeped further and further into their waking world. And when one contemplated they were assuming a lot by assuming all evil done by this murderer could only be done at night, it only grew worse, closer even to terror.
Now, it was night, and dinner had been served about half an hour ago, but Anne had made no move to leave her little office in the Great Hall. She wasn't hungry. She hadn't actually been for days. Any bite of food she'd taken tasted like nothing except for the rare moment she got to share it with Markus. Even now, the food was starting to taste like nothing with him. He was overworked and exhausted and trying so hard to be strong, but their time apart was so much more than their time truly together (alone) due to their jobs and Kirstin's presence that what few moments they could steal weren't enough.
What she wouldn't give to have Markus right now, just holding her in a broom closet somewhere or a quiet, abandoned corridor. Or snogging. Even that sounded increasingly tempting. Fear and stress did that to her, amplified her neediness in that regard. The funny thing was she didn't want to give in right now. She, Anne Fernsby, who had been with a few men, wanted to take time to get to know this person. He meant too much. Their relationship meant too much, and she wanted to be sure all these feelings weren't only caused by the trauma they were going through, the proximity in which they worked with each other.
Anne leaned against the table, hugging her arms as close as she could while still preventing herself from ending up face down on her desk. She needed him right now. Waiting was silly, but the fact of the matter was that she didn't want to share him, and because Kirstin was here, she knew she would be. Unless Kirstin responded by putting up walls. She hadn't asked him about their sex life. She hadn't asked him because she didn't want to make ultimatums. She didn't want to give Kirstin any reason to suspect, any reason to make life harder on Markus than it already was, and deep down, Anne knew what little sneaking around they did only made things harder for him.
The appearance of a patronus before her startled Anne back to the present, and she sobbed out loud but quickly clasped her hand over her mouth and forced herself to keep it in. She had to. She had let her guard down getting lost in thought, and that thought alone scared her, but this thing was here. And it was a cheetah. It was Markus'. She had to listen. He needed her for something. The fact she knew they were out looking for a dead girl only made her feel it had to be something bad. A prickle went down her spine at the thought, and she shivered.
She wasn't wrong. The killer had his children. She needed to get the guard, get Kirstin....
She couldn't focus for that. She didn't know who to grab, where Kirstin and her posse of five were. Anne pushed herself up and pulled her wand out of her drawer with a shaking hand. No, she couldn't take the time to find Kirstin. By the time she did, Markus could be dead. But she would leave word with the nearest group of guards and have a couple come with her. That much she could do, but no more. So, that's what she did, albeit uncertain she made much sense while doing so, before taking off quickly for the staircases and freezing them. She couldn't wait for them. There was no time, no time at all. She had to get upstairs and keep after this thing.