October arrived bringing with it a damp chill.
Harry, even though he was still distracted somewhat by trying to sort out his tangled feelings for Ron and Hermione, couldn't help but notice that Ginny had become quieter, she'd started going to bed earlier and was looking a bit peaky, however this could have just been because she was catching the cold that was going around. Plenty of students and even some staff had been sick recently. Percy bullied Ginny into taking some of madame Pomfrey's pepper-up potion. It left her smoking at the ears for several hours afterward and with her vivid Weasley hair she looked as if her whole head was on fire.
The rain and gloom hadn't dampened Oliver's interest in regular training sessions. The rest of the team complained but Harry didn't mind. He wanted to get his hands on the Quidditch cup this year...and quite aside from wanting to win for Gryffindor's sake, Harry had a certain red-haired someone he wanted to impress. This was why he was to be found a few days before Halloween walking along a deserted corridor back to Gryffindor tower drenched to the skin and dripping in mud. It hadn't been all that great of a practice session. The twins had been spying on the Slytherin team, who they'd be playing against in the first match of the season, and had reported that they'd been nothing more than green blurs zooming around the pitch on their new broomsticks. As he continued down the corridor he spotted someone who was just as preoccupied as he was. It was Nearly Headless Nick.
Harry stopped to talk and found out the reason for his morose attitude. He had apparently applied for a ghosts' club called the headless hunt and been rejected because his head hadn't been severed correctly. Harry had just started to confide his own problems about Slytherin and the coming Quidditch match to Nick when Mrs. Norris appeared at his heels mewling and staring at him.
"Better run for it Harry." Nick said "Fitch is in a foul mood. He's got the flu and some third years made a huge mess in one of the dungeons..he's been cleaning all morning and if he sees you dripping mud everywhere.." Harry nodded, he didn't need telling twice. He turned to run but he was too late. Filtch was drawn to the spot by the strange power that seemed to connect him to his cat. He dragged Harry off to his office and began to write out a punishment form but then there was a loud crash above them and Filtch vanished out of his office shouting about how he was finally going to get Peeves. Harry stayed put, figuring he should wait for Filtch to get back.
Where are you Harry... Hermione's voice was in his head. They had been practicing their distance with the Thread and it was a lot easier to communicate over longer distances. He should have known they'd start asking. He was late back from practice after all.
Yeah, you're late..what's going on? Ron added.
You don't wanna know where I am.. Harry answered I'll explain later.
He looked around and saw an envelope lying on the desk, he picked it up curiously and found that it was a course in beginners magic called kwikspell. Harry was reading it with interest but he got caught by Filtch who practically chased him out of the office. Harry, who couldn't believe his luck, rushed back off up the corridor where he ran into nearly headless Nick again along with the wreckage of what looked to have once been a large black and gold cabinet. Nick told Harry that he'd persuaded Peeves to crash the cabinet right above Filtch's office to try and get Harry out of trouble. Grateful for the bailout Harry agreed to go to Nick's deathday party on Halloween and put in a good word for him with the leader of the Headless hunt.
Exhausted, Harry finally made his way back to Gryffindor tower and met the others in the common room.
Huh, interesting. Hermione thought after Harry had explained everything to them Bet not many living people have been to a deathday party.
Ron, who was grumpily making his way through his potions homework, took a less enthusiastic view of things:
Why would anyone celebrate the day they died...sounds dead depressing..
Harry, who found a lot of little things Ron said funny lately, chuckled at his use of the phrase 'dead depressing'. Hermione rolled her eyes at him. Harry was just about to tell the others about Filtch's kwikspell course when suddenly there was a loud volley of cracks and bangs. Fred and George had stolen a Salamander from care of magical creatures class and fed it a filibuster firework it flew across the common room expelling tangerine sparks from it's mouth. Ron and Harry laughed at the sight but Hermione just rolled her eyes at their antics. Percy rushed over to yell at the twins and the kwikspell envelope completely slipped Harry's mind.