"Someone with rashes… someone with rashes…"
Natasha Violet stared up at the roof above her head. An Auror had passed by the compartment she shared with her friend Nick Gilbert (the third) not too long ago and asked if they had seen someone with rashes pass by, a question that had bewildered them both.
"Nothing we can do about that, Tasha", Nick said from his seat.
"Doesn't it bother you that we do not know why she was asking about someone with rashes?" Natasha asked, still staring up at the roof as she lay on her back.
"Not really", Nick answered. "I mean, if it was something that was contagious they would have tried to evacuate us."
"Even if the train was moving?"
Nick grinned in reply.
"Of course. They could call on the pink fluffy unicorns to help them with that."
"Nick, unicorns are not pink and fluffy. That's a myth."
"Are you sure?" Nick asked and tilted his head slightly, causing his light-brown curls to fall into his face. "Have you seen something that can prove that they do not exist?"
"Just because of that Hagrid hasn't seen any does not mean they do not exist", Nick interrupted and bounced slightly on his seat as he grinned, looking a lot less than the sixth year student he was. Natasha could not help but laugh as well. That was what always happened; one of them did something out of the ordinary and the other started laughing, which in the end would cause them both to be unable to stop laughing as they would just start over if they looked at one another.
"Alright, let's drop the subject", Nick eventually said. "How do you feel about our deal?"
"I'm still not sure about it", Natasha answered and sat up on the seat, pushing her ginger hair out of the way.
"Oh, come on!" Nick exclaimed. "It will be fun! Amazing! Awesome! Whatever you wish to call it."
"Look, Nick, you're good at playing Quidditch but that doesn't mean you're good at teaching it", Natasha pointed out. She had watched Nick play as the Hufflepuff Seeker since his second year but despite this she had never really understood what was going on. Since the flying lessons during her first year she had not even sat on a broom and now Nick had somehow gotten her to make a deal with him; he would teach her how to play Quiddtch if she helped him with his studies. Not that she believed he needed that much help; it seemed more like an excuse to watch her try (and probably fail) at playing the game that he loved so much.
"You'll be fine", Nick said. "I bet that next year you will be able to try out for the team, even!"
Natasha glared at him and was about to tell him off when a girl dressed in Gryffindor-robes rushed in through the door of their compartment and hid beneath one of the benches. The sight caused both Hufflepuffs to fall silent and just stare at one another, then at the girl hiding from something, then back at each other. A group of Slytherins passed by outside and once they had passed the girl crawled back out and took a deep breath of relief.
"Wow, that was close", she said.
"What's going on?" Natasha asked.
"Oh, I might, might just have managed to piss off those Slytherins by, accidentally, dropping a dungbomb in their compartment", the girl said and adjusted her Ray Ban-glasses. Nick started roaring with laughter as he heard that.
"I wish I'd been there, that's awesome!" he said and raised his hand. "High five, you!"
The girl looked surprised for a moment before she grinned and returned the gesture.
"You just met the ultimate Marauder-against-Slytherins since the Weasley-twins' era", Nick said with a grin and invited her to sit down next to him.
"You want to bet on that?" the girl asked. "I don't know how many things I've done to those people; they just annoy me and I can't let that go unpunished."
"I think that you might be my long lost sister", Nick said, still grinning. "I'm Nick Gilbert, the third, and this is my friend and companion Natasha Violet."
"Brooklyn Amarenze", the girl answered and shook his hand.
"So, Brooklyn Amarenze, what is your opinion on pink fluffy unicorns?" Nick asked.
"Nick!" Natasha exclaimed.
"What, just because you do not believe does not mean that she doesn't as well", Nick answered with a shrug.
"Pink fluffy unicorns?" Brooklyn asked, her blue-grey eyes widening behind her glasses in sheer surprise. "Do they exist?"
"People think they don't but Nick is out to prove them wrong", Natasha answered.
"It is my one goal for this year!" Nick proclaimed. "That and teaching Tasha how to play Quidditch."
"You do not know how to play Quidditch?" Brooklyn gasped. Natasha shook her head.
"How is that even possible?" Brooklyn continued. "I mean, doesn't everyone know how to do it? It's quite simple, is it not?"
"I'd say so", Nick answered. "Tasha says it's not so I've promised to teach her how to do it. Do you want to bet on me making her into a decent Quidditch-player by the end of the year?"
"Nick", Natasha said in a tone that signaled a warning. Brooklyn just grinned.
"Five galleons and you're on", she said.
"Could we please change the subject?" Natasha squealed, her voice rising to a higher tone.
Nick and Brooklyn eventually agreed to talk about something else than Quidditch and unicorns, causing the three to instead discuss the female Auror who had been looking for 'someone with rashes'. She had knocked on Brooklyn's compartment as well, two wagons away, and somewhat later something invisible had knocked on the door as well. This intrigued the two Hufflepuffs as they had not had something like that happening to them.
"Everyone in my wagon experienced it", Brooklyn said. "Or, at least I think it was everyone. I mean, I did not speak to everyone but those I spoke to had heard it, so…"
"Maybe it's a poltergeist", Nick suggested. "Imagine that; the poltergeist of the Hogwarts Express."
"That sounds like an Agatha Christie-novel", Natasha admitted. As all of them had read, or at least heard, something of this author's work they could all agree on that.
They then went on to discussing the retirement of Professor Flitwick and who the new teacher might be, until Brooklyn suddenly bolted up from her seat.
"Oh my God, we're almost there!" she shouted. "We're almost there! We're almost there!"
The others looked out through the now dark window and saw, in the distance, the lights of Hogsmeade village approaching. Brooklyn waved at them as she dashed out through the door to head back to her friends while Nick pulled down his black robe from his trunk. He had not bothered to put it on before; it was hot enough without it.
"Well, time for a year when we do not have to focus on some annoying OWLs or NEWTs", he said with a grin as he put it on.
"Yeah", Natasha said. "And that extra time you're forcing me to spend on a broom."
"Not forcing; we made a deal", Nick pointed out. "You help me and I help you."
"Whatever you say. But if I fall off more than three times during the first week I will not keep on going."
"Deal", Nick said and pulled out his wand. "Should we do the Unbreakable Vow?"
"Nick!" Natasha exclaimed, her voice yet again rising up a few notes.
"Alright, alright, I was just kidding", Nick said with a laugh.
Slowly the train came to a stop by the platform outside Hogsmeade. Students of all ages tumbled out, excited to start their next year. As they got off Natasha heard several other students discuss the mysterious "invisible knocker". Several seemed to have the same theory as Nick, that it was a poltergeist, while others had slightly delirious ideas of it being the sign of a curse and darker times. A group of three Ravenclaws, two girls and one guy, passed them by while eagerly discussing every single aspect of it all.
"Well", Nick said and looked up at the castle in the distance, "race you to the carriages?"
"You're such a jerk", Natasha responded, before rushing after him through the crowd.