At the sight of Draco Malfoy, Neville quickly shoved Trevor back into his pocket. Unfortunately, he was too late.
“Still kissing that frog Longbottom? Hoping it will turn into your prince?” sneered Malfoy. Crabbe and Goyle sniggered from behind him.
“Kissy kissy? Princess Neville and his toady-woady?”
“Get lost Malfoy.” Ron Weasley appeared out of nowhere, followed by Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Neville jumped, but was glad to see his fellow Gryffindors. Malfoy really intimidated him, and he wasn’t sure how much longer he would’ve held his own before turning into a snivelling wreck.
“H-hi Ron,” Neville stuttered.
“H-h-h-hi Won...” Malfoy mocked as he walked off, Crabbe and Goyle eager to keep up.
“Alright Neville,” called Harry, smiling as he walked away with Ron. Hermione stayed behind, greeting Neville with a sad smile.
“Malfoy troubling you again?” she asked. Neville nodded, and the look on her face showed she understood.
“He’s always making fun of other people, when deep down he’s a real coward. Don’t take it personally Neville, don’t let yourself be a target.” She flashed a quick grin and ran off to catch up with Harry and Ron.
As soon as the corridor was empty again, Neville retrieved Trevor from his pocket.
“Sorry about that buddy,” he sighed, and began to walk back to the Common Room. As he climbed the empty staircases he was cheerily greeted by the many inhabitants of the portraits on the walls. They were all fond of Neville as he often wandered around the corridors alone, always friendly and willing to chat. He was about to turn the corner which led him back to the Common Room when he spotted Luna Lovegood skipping towards him. He immediately felt his cheeks turning red. He turn away, took a deep breath and then turned back to face her.
“Oh, hi there Neville! How are you? Oh is that your toad? He’s lovely, what’s his name?” Luna’s sunny disposition made Neville feel at ease. To him, she was like something out of a dream.
“Hey Luna, his name’s Trevor. Would you like to hold him?” He held out his toad, but Trevor leapt from his hands and began to bounce down the corridor.
“Trevor! What are you doing?” Neville wiped his suddenly clammy hands on his trousers.
“He seems quite a character. My dad had a toad once, his name was Arnold. He never used to do anything though, he would just sit there croaking away. Brilliant creatures, toads, they’re so individual...” Luna was off in her own little world, as usual. Neville was nervously watching Trevor hop away, not wanting to leave Luna but knowing he had to go and chase his pet.
“Really sorry Luna, but I better go and get Trevor, it was great to see you though,” Neville interrupted, and began to run after his toad. He felt rude for leaving so suddenly, and was annoyed at Trevor for ruining his conversation with Luna. He was crazy about her, and didn’t often get the chance to talk to her alone. He spent the next twenty minutes searching for the toad, before giving up and deciding to go and see Hagrid. Care of Magical Creatures had never been Neville’s favourite subject, but the gameskeeper had always appreciated Neville’s company.
When he arrived at Hagrid’s Hut he could hear Fang barking away inside, and wondered whether it was a good time or if he should go back to the castle. Just as he was about to turn back, the door opened.
“Stupid dog, be gone with yeh” muttered Hagrid, as he threw Fang outside. “Well ‘ello Neville, I almost didn’t see you there!” His face had lit up at the sight of Neville, and he welcomed him inside. As Hagrid served tea, Neville explained about Trevor escaping while he was trying to talk to Luna.
“You mean yer pet toad? Well yeh should’ve said so, he’s been ‘ere for a’least ten minutes, Fang got over-excited and I ‘ad to chuck him out!” Hagrid slid a small cardboard box across the table as he sat down opposite Neville.
“Trevor!” Neville exclaimed as he opened the box. “You have to stop doing that!”
“So, you’re taking a likin’ to Miss Luna then?” Hagrid questioned as he took a hearty gulp of tea. Neville went red, embarrassed that he’d let his secret slip.
“Well, she’s, she’s great, I mean, yeah, no, we’re just, she’s just...” Neville stammered, not knowing what to say.
“She’s a fine young lass she is, great with all the creatures too, she’s always down ‘ere, feedin’ ‘em, I could slip it into conversation sometime if you’d like?” winked Hagrid.
“Oh, no, I wouldn’t worry, no, it’s okay Hagrid,” Neville quickly replied, doubting Hagrid’s subtlety. He’d already blown it once today by darting off mid-conversation, and didn’t need her finding out from Hagrid how he felt, even if it was the truth. He would tell her someday, once he’d plucked up the courage.
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