There were five people travelling on the Knight Bus that night, and none of them were there because it was their preferred mode of travel. Draco Malfoy – who was currently being held at wand-point by a man in a clown suit and a miniature top hat – had been forced to catch the bus because he had felt obliged to see Pansy Parkinson safely home when it became apparent she could not Apparate. Said friend was still so drunk out of her mind that it had yet to occur to her that their driver was no longer the pimply-faced man who had winked at her when she had first stumbled onto the bus. In fact, it was unlikely she noticed anything much at that moment.

Then there was Ginny Weasley, who was sitting moodily next to a woman who stunk of garlic and kept muttering about vampires. The redhead had chosen to catch the Knight Bus because she had splinched herself the last time she had Disapparated home and had no desire to repeat the process. Ginny didn't really care why the garlic woman was there, but judging by the way her companion kept muttering about fanged-beings, it was likely the woman was under the impression that vampires were out to get her.

The last of the unfortunate passengers was Ernie Macmillan. His presence was understandable, for he had never liked travelling via Apparation. He didn't like the Knight Bus either, but it was safer, and if there was one thing Ernie cared about, it was being safe. Unfortunately for him, clowns had decided to hijack the bus that night.

"Would you get that damn wand out of my face!" Draco Malfoy snapped, glaring at the clown standing in front of him.

"No can do, Mr Blue. You're ruining the mood with your tendency to brood."

Draco gritted his teeth. "One more rhyme out of you and I swear I will push you off this bus."

"Why did I ride the Knight Bus tonight?" Ernie muttered, ignoring everyone. "I didn't even want to ride it."

Pansy giggled. "He thinks he's riding the bus, Draco. Does that mean he's riding all of us too?"

"What?" Draco said distractedly, glancing at his friend.

"He's riding the bus. Get it?"

"Er?"

Ginny rolled her eyes. "She's talking about sex, you idiot. Now sit down so these stupid clowns can get their dumb show out of the way and we can go home."

"Now, now, Miss Fire Hair, you mustn't talk that way round here. We're here to entertain, not listen to you complain."

Ginny and Draco exchanged glances, both agreeing that the clowns had to go. There was nothing like rhyming hijackers in clown suits to bring two people together.

"You clowns are crazy!" Ernie cried, slightly hysterical. "You just can't hijack the Knight Bus and turn it into your travelling circus show."

"It is you who are crazed, my good friend. And if you keep interrupting, our show will never end."

"Vampires," the garlic woman muttered, grasping the clown by the wrist. "They're everywhere. Great, fanged beasts with pale skin and—" her eyes widened as she looked at Draco. "There's one! Kill it! Kill it!"

"Excuse me," Draco responded coldly, "just because I have pale skin does not make me a vampire."

"But he sure does know how to suck," Pansy added, giggling.

Ginny placed her face in her hands. "This is so ridiculous."

"I want to go home!" Ernie whined.

"I'll take you home, big boy," Pansy offered with an exaggerated wink.

Draco sighed. "I'm surrounded by nutcases."

Ginny slipped past the clowns, who were still trying to calm down the garlic woman, and came to stand beside Draco.

"We need to figure out how to get off this bus," she muttered.

"What makes you think I can help you? They took our wands, remember."

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but you're the sanest person here – besides myself, of course."

"Oh, I don't know. I think you're just as nutty as the rest of them."

Ginny raised her eyebrow and then gestured pointedly at the other passengers. The garlic woman was still demanding the clowns kill the vampire, Pansy was flirting outrageously with Ernie, who was trying his best not to blush at her increasingly suggestive comments, and Stan, the driver, was tied up in a corner, unable to do much but blink and wait to be released.

"Okay, so maybe you're not as crazy as them," Draco allowed, "but I still don't see what you expect me to do."

"We could always—"

The bus jerked to the side, throwing Ginny off her feet and directly into Draco's arms.

"Look! He's trying to bite her neck!" the garlic woman screamed.

"Don't be stupid," Pansy slurred, "he's just going to snog her. He's always fancied her, you know."

Ginny stared questioningly at Draco.

"She's drunk," he explained, though there was a decidedly pink tinge to his cheeks.

"Fancy Miss Fire Hair, you do, Mr Blue," the head clown interjected. "It's as obvious as the nose on your face."

"You forgot to rhyme," Draco taunted, if a little childishly.

"Is it true, Malfoy?" Ginny demanded. "You fancy me?"

"Well, of course he does," Ernie said pompously. "He's only been staring at your for Merlin knows how long we've been stuck on this nightmarish bus."

Draco scowled. "What is this? Matchmakers from hell? I don't believe I asked for your opinions."

"So what is your opinion, then?" Ernie retorted.

Draco could feel everyone's eyes staring expectantly at him and heaved an exasperated sigh. "It's none of your bloody business, that's what. If I fancy Weasley, I'll tell her in my own time – not when I'm surrounded by a nutcase who thinks I'm a vampire and a bunch of rhyming clowns."

"So you do fancy me!" Ginny declared triumphantly.

Too late did Draco realise his mistake. "Well, I, er—"

"Enough of this," the head clown interrupted. "You've stolen our show, which is a big no, no. Now sit and be silent, or we may just get violent."

Draco and Ginny stared at each other for a moment and then wearily resumed their seats. Everyone, even the garlic woman, agreed that they would rather be any place else but here.
The End.
Boogum is the author of 62 other stories.
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