Gloomy
by jennerferkerr
Rating: G
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, I would not be sitting here in this tiny apartment. J.K Rowling is my hero.

*BANG*

The Knight Bus appeared suddenly beside two boys in their late teens. They jumped back, pulling large trunks off the curb. The conductor of the bus, a very short man with vibrant green shoes, helped them to bring their luggage aboard.

"Where are you boys going today?" he asked, once they were aboard.

James glanced at Sirius, who said quickly, "Hogsmead, the three broomsticks, please."

The conductor nodded, and collected their gold. The two boys grinned weakly, and made their way to the top of the bus, where they had the best view.

James sat down in an armchair with a sigh. "They never clean this bus, do they?" he asked, waving at the cloud of dust that had risen from the chair. He looked at his friend, who was sprawled lazily on a squashy sofa. "I honestly donít kno' why you always insist we ride this bus." He sneezed. "Heh-ishoo!"

Sirius shrugged. "How else do you expect us to get anywhere? Unless you're up for underage apparation, you'd better get used to it." He looked around. "Besides, nobody else seems to ride this thing anymore, so we won't be recognized."

Glancing around the bus, James said, "You're right, the bus is practically empty. Weird. Still, every time we ride this bus, I end up having an allergy attack. Eh-ishhoo!"

They both knew that this conversation lacked their usual happy pizzazz. Usually, on these late-night excursions, they were excited and noisy, bouncing off the walls. Tonight, however, neither of them seemed to be able to muster up any enthusiasm. With murder and terror spreading through the wizarding world, there was no point in even pretending to be happy. Half of James and Sirius' friends had had family members murdered or bewitched, and as the summer dragged on, the attacks seemed to be moving in to people closer and closer to them.

The bus sped through the night, as Sirius and James sat in silence, punctuated by the occasional sneeze from James. Then, without warning, it stopped, right in the middle of an empty muggle field.

James and Sirius didn't think much of this, until they heard the sounds of panic down below.

"What are you doing?"

"STUPEFY!"

"Hey! What's going on? AAAAAH!"

There was a loud crashing sound, then silence. James and Sirius leapt to their feet and scramble down to the drivers seat.' The driver was gone, and so was the conductor. In factÖ there.....was only one other person on the bus.

Professor McGonagall hurried forward, nodding to show she recognized them. "Have your wands ready boys," she said, her voice tense and worried.

Sirius felt a jolt of fear. "What's going on?" he asked, drawing out his wand quickly.

The Professor, her voice uncharacteristically shaking, explained, "We've been attacked by Death Eaters. They've captured the driver and conductor, and they could be back any second, so be ready."

Immediately, James and Sirius rushed to the windows. They peered out, fearing the worst. Outside, they saw a terrible scene. The three Death Eaters that had attempted to hijack the Knight bus were attempting to re-enter the bus. Ernie Prang, the driver, lay unconscious on the ground, next to the conductor, who was bound by some sort of invisible rope.

"What's going on?" McGonagall asked, looking deathly pale and frightened. Sirius and James, so used to her usual, strict and firm demeanor, answered immediately.

"They're trying to get back in, but I don't think they can," James said, looking more closely.

The tallest death eater was trying to force the door open, using charms and spells James had never seen before. Another death eater was attempting to smash windows, but they wouldn't break. The other was circling the bus, apparently trying to find some other way in.

McGonagall relaxed slightly. "I suppose the bus seals itself if the driver leaves," she said thoughtfully, more to herself than to James and Sirius.

James bent forward suddenly, sneezing violently. "Heh-ishho! Hih-hihishshoo! Eh-cchoo! Heh-ishoo! Ah-cchooo! Shh-cchhii!" He shook his head and blinked.

Sirius left the window, announcing, "They've just disapparated. They've given up on the bus."

McGonagall sank into an armchair. "Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yeah, they're gone. They looked pretty pissed off too," Sirius assured her.

James stood up, looked out the window, and headed for the door. "So how are we supposed to get to Hogsmead now?" he asked, pushing on the door. It wouldn't open. He sneezed again, "Heh-sshooo!"

Sirius tried the door, and said, "Oh gees, and I'll bet you anything it's sealed from the inside too!"

Trying a few spells on the door, McGonagall agreed, "I don't think we can get out."

Just then, a voice echoed through the bus. "The driver has left the bus. In such a situation, the bus is sealed, and will not let anyone in or out. If the driver does not return to the bus and deactivate the security, the ministry of magic will be notified in one hour's time. Thank you for your patience."

The three people on the bus were silent for a second.

"An hour?" asked Sirius, groaning. He took a seat beside McGonagall. "Do you know any way to make it go faster?" he asked her.

She shook her head. "No, I'm afraid we're just going to have to wait it out" She looked impatiently at their depressed faces. "You should just be glad you're alive!"

James nodded, "I'm glad," he said, without much conviction. A heavy, dismal silence fell over them, as they realized suddenly how serious their situation could have been.

After a few minutes of waiting in silence, James suddenly started sneezing again, taking them all by surprise. "Heh-ishho! Ishhoo! Hih-shoo! Ih-echoo!"

McGonagall looked worried. "How long have you been sick, James?" she asked.

James answered by sneezing again. "Heh-ishoo!"

Sirius laughed. "He's not sick, he always gets like this when we ride the Knight bus. He's allergic to dust."

McGonagall looked around the bus, and saw the thick layers of dust coating every surface. She asked, "Where were you boys going at this time of night anyway?"

They shrugged. "We were going to Hogsmead. Where were you going?"

The professor looks like she wants to ask more, but she doesn't. "I was on my way to visit a friend."

The two boys thought she was being rather vague, but then again, so were they. Sirius looked around and saw a piano in the corner. He sat down in front of it and began plunking a sad melody. They sat for the next few minutes listening, until James started sneezing again. He groaned, and wiped his eyes and nose. "Gees," he said, "I swear, every time there's an attack, it seems to get closer and closer to us!" He slumped in his chair, looking depressed.

McGonagall said, "These are dangerous times. You have to be on the lookout at all times." She looked very gloomy and depressed too.

Then Sirius said, "That was Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Regulus." He said it in a flat, emotionless voice, but James could tell that it had shaken him to see his family members in action, even if he did know they were Death Eaters. Regulus was only sixteen, after all.

"Ih-shhooo!" James sneezed. "Don't worry about it Sirius," He said, "You already knew they were scum."

Sirius smiled weakly, and said, "That doesn't change the fact that half my family is out there murdering and torturing people!"

McGonagall frowns. "Sirius, you can't blame yourself for what your family does. You should just be proud for not turning out like them."

Sirius nodded slowly, and silence fell back over the bus. They could hear the wind whistling eerily against the bus, and the distant howling of a wolf, but they were trapped inside the bus. Sirius played another haunting tune on the piano.

After a while, James asked, "How- how- Heh-eshhooo! Ih-CCHHH- geez- how long has it been now?"

The professor glanced at her watch, and replied, "The Ministry could be here in about ten minutes."

The gloomy mood was not lifted by these words. James sneezed several more times, and Sirius continued playing the eerie song on the piano, his eyes faraway.

The transfiguration teacher said, in a feeble attempt to start a conversation, "Have you received your school letters yet?"

The two teens shrugged and nodded. "Yeah," Sirius said.

"EH-SSHOOO!" sneezed James.

McGonagall said, "So James, you're head boy! Congratulations!"

The black haired boy nodded unenthusiastically. "Thanks. Heh-ishho! Ishhoo! Hih-shoo! Ih-echoo!"

She sighed. "James, why do you even ride this bus if this is what it does to you?"

James looked pointedly at Sirius and said, "I've wondered that myself more than once."

His friend rolled his eyes, and said dully, "How else do you expect two underage wizards to get around? I hardly think it's safe to ride brooms anymore."

The only reply he got for this was more sneezing from James, and then silence. He resumed playing the gloomy song.

The minutes passed painfully slowly, but finally, they heard the sounds of three wizards apparating outside the bus. The ministry wizards unsealed the bus, much to the three passenger's relief.

McGonagall grimly explained what had happened. One of the wizards, a very thin, short man, informed them that Stan Shunpike had been found tied up in a muggle woodshed. It seemed that Voldemort only wanted the conductor.

The two teens were side-along-apparated to Hogsmead, where they were escorted to the Three Broomsticks. James and Sirius thanked them, and spotted Remus in the corner. He was looking particularly gloomy as well, so they sat down next to him. It was with little enthusiasm that they told him of their recent adventure.

~The End~


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