My one solitary friend who I hardly ever got to see linked her arm through mine.
"Who was that guy?" Maria grinned.
"What guy?" I responded.
"Oh, come on, Brook. That guy who you walked in with!" her grin got wider. Ah. I should have expected her to notice.
"Oh, you know, a friend..."
"What kind of friend?"
"A friendly friend"
"What was his name?" she asked quickly.
"Sebastian" I told her.
"Oh. Never heard of him. What's the password?"
I realise we've come to the Fat Lady, who even though she's injured still insists on singing.
"Uh, the password? It's... umm... Mandrake... I think"
"Uh. Why can't it just be something simple like open sesame? Mandrake" Maria said to the Fat Lady. The Fat Lady tried to sing for us, but Maria just yelled "We've already seen the glass break, just let us in!" so she let us in.
Once in the Griffindor common room, Maria sighted some of her friends and rushed over to them. I sighed and went back out into the corridor.
Because I wasn't really looking where I was going, I walked straight into Professor Nocture.
"Oh, oh my g-goodness. I'm... S-so sorry! I didn't mean to, to, I'm r-really sorry!" I stammered.
"Oh no, that's quite all right. You seem a little lost where were you heading to?" Nocture smiled down at me.
"Um, I was, looking for..." I trailed off. What was I looking for?
"Maybe a friend from this house?" he gestured to the picture of a fruit bowl marking the entrance to the Hufflepuff common room. I realised that I'd been subconsciously looking for Sebastian. But I'd been hoping that I'd see him on the way, rather than walking all the way to his common room.
"Um, yes, I think so..." I said quietly. There was something about the way Professor Nocture kept flicking glances at the picture that just wasn't right. Like he had a dirty little secret about it that he was afraid of somebody finding out. He was getting more and more nervous every time someone went through it. But he was also scrutinising exactly how they managed to get into the Hufflepuff common room.
To be honest, it was easy, and I'd known how to get in for ages. It just seemed that Nocture wanted to get in for the wrong reason.
"... but I'm afraid that's rather against the rules" Nocture was saying. "You have to stay in your own common- oh dear me! Blasted ghosts" he stalked off at the appearance of Nearly Headless Nick.
"Hello young Brook." he smiled. "You look a little absent"
"Hi" I smiled back. I remembered when I'd first seen him. He'd scared me half to death. Now he was one of the only people I didn't stutter around. "Do you know what's wrong with Professor Nocture?"
"Unfortunately, no. But maybe Sebastian does, he's a smart young fellow"
And a cute one, too. I found myself smiling
"Hmm. Maybe he does. I'll have to ask him when I see him."