ONCE MORE, WILL FOUND HIMSELF IN A TEACHER'S OFFICE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, ONLY HE WAS NOT ALONE.
Professor Conway sat at the chair behind his desk, looking half-asleep. His hair was ruffled, shadowing his sluggish eyes, different from his usual spruce self, his elbow rested on the arm rest, his drooping head on his hand. He had shrugged on a loose, white nightshirt in his drowsiness, revealing a patch of dark chest hair, and striped pyjama trousers hung loose at his hips, his slouched position showing the muscular triangle there.
A single oil lamp burnt low on his radically tidy desk, illuminating little of his office, the adjoining door to his quarters firmly shut. Conway reminded Will of a child in the way books were slotted tightly in bookcases, and items were aligned perfectly on shelves. The walls were pastel red, the wooden furniture made of dark purpleheart, and landscape paintings hung in gold frames either side of the window behind his desk, obsessively straight, the corners marked with the initials of the same name glimmering on a plaque at the desk,
PROF. ALCANDER CONWAY
'Alright, Vigilo,' sighed Conway, looking peeved in more ways than one. 'You've dragged me from my bed in the middle of the night. I hope you have a good reason for your actions.'
Vigilo was squished against the ceiling, his head tilted awkwardly and his back hunched. He looked bemused. 'Well...ain't cha head of security?'
'That I am,' said Conway, arching a thick, groomed eyebrow. His voice lowered with irritation. 'What of it?'
Vigilo nudged Will forward on the back with his knobbly knee. 'I thought 'e'd interest ya. E were up past curfew, a direct violation a the rules set forth ba the principal.'
Conway's gaze turned to Will, his lips rising in an intrigued smile. 'It's Will, isn't it?'
Will bit back a smile, happy that, for the first time, he hadn't been addressed by his embarrassing, full name. 'Yes, sir,' he said shortly.
The professor sat straight in a gesture of mutual respect. 'Vigilo has played you down as if you are an escaped convict. So, why were you up so late? You know it is long past curfew?'
Will nodded sadly, he tried to obscure the broken suitcase hidden behind him. He didn't want to tell a professor of the Sanctuary that he'd been so miserable that he'd wanted to run away. But Conway had already noticed, and his bright mind had deduced the situation. He made a thoughtful 'hmm', then stood up, looking proud and stern even in his nightwear.
'In that case, I suggest you return quickly and quietly to the Draíochta commonroom. Others may notice you gone in bathroom visits, I can't imagine you want them asking questions. There is nothing worse than tired, stubborn children, or so I hear.'
Will smiled, already feeling better. Vigilo, on the other hand, stuttered in protest. 'But, sir-,'
Conway's eyes shone with fiery admonishment. 'Are you undermining my decision,Vigilo?' He spoke the name with distaste. 'That is all I have to say, if I hear you have treated Mr Avaric especially bad over this...' His lip twitched with an ominous smile, 'well, I might make arrangements for your feet to be twisted the right way round.'
Vigilo gulped nervously, his chest stiffening. He split his legs to allow Will through the door, waving thankfully to Conway, who curled up wearily in his chair. He heard the professor chiding Vigilo for the pointless summons as he left down the tower stairs, his suitcase clutched to his chest.