Author's Note: This was written for (and won) Challenge 5 of harrypotter_las Round 1. The challenge was '[character] has a cold'.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
How a Buffalo, a Refrigerator, and a Leeds City Bus Saved Anthony Goldstein's Butt
Anthony Goldstein flew around the corner, past the Transfiguration classroom, heading for a niche he knew behind a bust of Darwin Bugbottom. A blast shook the ground beneath him, and screams sounded from somewhere below. He only had seconds before the Death Eater chasing him rounded the corner and saw him.
He dove behind Bugbottom's bust just as another ear-shattering boom rocked the castle. Holding his breath, he held as still as he could while the heavy footsteps of the Death Eater ran past him, then faded. When he couldn't hear them any more, he exhaled shakily, then rubbed his dripping nose on the inside of his sleeve. It was bad enough being in a fight for his life, but being sick on top of it all really took the cake. All of a sudden, he felt the familiar tickle in the back of his nose. A sneeze was coming. A honker. His sneezes were famous among his dormmates. They'd earned him the nickname 'Tony the Trumpet'. It would certainly alert that Death Eater - and everyone else within three floors above and below - of his presence.
He knew from experience there was no way to suppress it. Hastily, he cast the privacy spell: "Buffliato!" It was the best he could do, given his blocked sinuses.
To his horror, a giant bison blinked into existence right on top of him. The sheer shock canceled his sneeze reflex. He scrambled to get out of the way of the beast's hooves. Bugbottom's bust was toast. The bison turned its head and regarded Anthony with a baleful expression, then opened its mouth. Anthony shook his head violently, mouthing 'No, no!' in a fruitless effort to stop nature from taking its course.
Of course the animal bellowed louder than Anthony could possibly have sneezed.
"What the hell?" a man's voice snarled a few seconds later. Anthony would have bet his collection of Nose-Biting Teacups it was his old pal the Death Eater. At least he was still hidden behind the buffalo's bulk. Until the Death Eater cast an Evanesco, and Anthony was left sitting in a pile of Bugbottom rubble. Anthony shrugged and grinned up at the masked wizard apologetically.
Startled, the Death Eater hesitated, giving Anthony enough time to whip out his wand and point it at the ceiling between him and the other wizard. "Codfriggo!" he shouted hoarsely, intending to knock down enough stones to block the Death Eater's path, giving him time to get away.
Instead, a family-sized Frigidaire appeared out of nowhere and thudded down onto the Death Eater, flattening him instantly. The fall jarred the door of the refrigerator open, and a huge pile of fish came sliding out all over the floor.
Anthony's eyes widened. Then he sneezed. Without waiting to see if his outburst brought another Death Eater out of the woodwork, he turned and ran.
He was halfway to the Room of Requirement when he found his way blocked by another masked figure duelling with Michael Boot. Luckily, the Death Eater was facing the other way, so the element of surprise was on Anthony's side. He was afraid to try another offensive spell; the results were too unpredictable, and he didn't want Michael to get trampled or flattened by mistake. He thought a Disarming spell would be pretty safe, though. Taking careful aim, so as not to hit Michael, he spoke the incantation: "Expelliarbus!"
A snubnosed, white bus flew out of his wand, inflating itself as it went, until it had reached full size and was barreling down the corridor, heading for Michael and the Death Eater. On its side was printed in large, red-and-blue letters, 'MetroConnect freecitybus'.
Seeing the behemoth bearing down on them, Michael was able to dive aside into the nearest classroom just as the bus struck the Death Eater from behind, effectively settling the duel in Michael's favor. It continued to the end of the corridor, plowing into the wall and caving it in, finally coming to a rest with its front wheels hanging out over the grounds, spinning uselessly. Anthony cringed and ran forward to check on his friend.
Michael emerged from the classroom, dazed and with a gash across his cheek, but otherwise unharmed.
"What the bloody-" Michael began, staring at the bus. "Was that you?"
"Yeah," Anthony gasped, his lungs burning from all the running. "Sorry, Bike. By bajic's all bessed up. This freakin' code." He demonstrated with a long, wet, hacking cough.
Michael peered at the bus. "Is that a Leeds city bus?"
"Bugger if I dohw," Anthony said, pulling on Michael's sleeve. "Cub on! We'd better get out of here."
"You've got to teach that to me sometime," Michael said, looking back over his shoulder longingly as Anthony dragged him away. "They never run to schedule."