As Ron made his way through the halls, he was starting to have the sinking suspicion that there wasn't going to be anyone in the Great Hall. Hogwarts was empty. He'd passed some portraits in the hall, but none of the subjects had talked to him. Some had stared or followed him through the halls, but there were no answers to be found from them. He hadn't seen any ghosts either, but he knew there had to be some. There was no way Hogwarts was rid of ghosts as well as people. And house-elves. There had to be house elves, didn't there?
He moved quickly, peering into any rooms with open doors but not stopping to investigate. If there was no one in the Great Hall, he'd do a more thorough search, starting with the kitchens. If there were no house elves there, then he'd start to really worry. Maybe it was a Hogsmeade weekend. A little voice reminded him that there had always been plenty of people elft behind on Hogsmeade weekends, but maybe McGonagall was doing things differently and encouraging everyone, even ghosts, to go outside. In the middle of February. That had to be what was going on.
Ron took the stairs at a light jog, then came to a stumbling halt when he saw someone at the bottom. Someone else who shouldn't be there. "Mrs. Malfoy?" His voice illustrated the incredulity he was feeling. What the bloody hell was Narcissa Malfoy doing at Hogwarts? "I didn't bring you anywhere. I woke up in the infirmary. And I have no idea where everyone is. Hogwarts is empty." The more he said that the more surreal it sounded. How could Hogwarts be empty?
"I was going to go to the kitchens if there was no one in the Great Hall. The house elves will know what's going on. They always know everything that goes on at Hogwarts."