Chapter 40 // Hated For No Reason
I didn’t really know when I fell asleep, but I woke up from the nagging feeling in my stomach, desperate for food. According to the light falling through the ceiling, I guessed dinner was about to start in the castle, so I stretched and walked downstairs. I found Luna curled up on the sofa, the book she was reading left on the floor. I picked it up, smiled when I saw which book it was: A children’s Anthology of Monsters by Newton Scamander.
‘Hey, Luna,’ I gently shook her shoulders, ‘I’m hungry. Let’s go get some food.’
‘I’m sleeping,’ she slapped my hand away and cuddled the pillow closer.
‘I’ll just leave you with Barry then. He’ll probably bring you back to the river. If you ask nicely.’
‘Fine, I’ll come!’ she rubbed her eyes and yawned deeply, ‘Want to take anything?’
‘Here, take this,’ I threw the book she’d been reading on her lap and started scanning the bookshelves.
‘Are you sure? I mean, I could just get it in the library.’
‘It’s fine! Just return it when you’ve read it. They’re just gathering dust in here,’ I pulled out the book that caught my eye. The army green shiny leather looked well kept. It was thinner than the other books and the old leather had a surprisingly smooth feel to it, as if the book had never been opened before. It didn’t have a title, but I felt like I’d seen the book somewhere before, so I slipped it into my pockets.
We wondered if we should extinguish the fire, but I decided against it, because the fire had been on when we first arrived, which, come to think of it, was weird too, but I assumed it had some kind of spell over it to make sure it wouldn’t stop burning.
It took us half an hour to walk back to the river, swim to the lake and get dry behind the greenhouses again. I made sure to take in our surroundings, although I was pretty sure that I would find the cave house without a problem.
‘I can’t believe we found it so fast!’ Luna said. We entered the castle and made a straight line for the Great Hall, where the sound of people eating, and the smell of the food made my mouth water.
‘Right?’ I took a seat and started filling my plate at once, ‘Although, I had to say, if it wasn’t for the Thestrals, we’d probably still be searching.’
‘Good thing we…’ Luna fell silent, looking at someone behind me. I turned around to find Jason, staring down on me.
‘Where have you been?’ he demanded, crossing his hands across his chest.
‘I don’t know what…’
‘Don’t lie to me. You haven’t been in the common room for three days. I didn’t see you in the library. Nobody seemed to know where you were. Now, tell me. I swear, if you’re off doing something illegal again…’
‘Why don’t you stick your nose in your own business, Niche?’ Luna’s voice was barely more that a whisper, but the look in her eyes told me that it wasn’t the time to mess with her. ‘You didn’t care before, so just move along and go annoy someone else.’
‘I care if you lose our house points, Loony.’
I was up before I even noticed it myself. I pressed my wand against his stomach, where nobody could see it. ‘You call her that again, and you’re a dead man.’
‘What are you going to do? The most you’ve learned is the disarming charm. Pull your wand on me again and I’ll make sure you’re getting expelled. For now, detention will do. I’ll let Flitwick know.’
‘Don’t worry,’ I answered as he stepped away from me, ‘the next time I pull my wand on you, I’ll make sure you won’t be able to tell.’
I plopped down again, having lost my appetite, but I forced myself to eat anyway.
‘Thank you.’ Luna smiled, ‘you shouldn’t have taken detention for me.’
‘I should be thanking you.’ I grinned and waved around with a piece of bread, ‘I just don’t get why they all seem to hate us, considering they are Ravenclaws. I thought our house was known to be encouraging of creativity, eccentricity and individuality, not shunning it.’
‘One day, they’ll be screaming our names,’ Luna pointed towards the teachers table. ‘Look at Flitwick. He’s apparently a distant descent of a goblin. I bet he was being judged all the time. That didn’t stop him from becoming a Master Duellist and the best charms teacher Hogwarts has ever known.’
‘He’ll be so pissed when he finds out I got detention again.’ I bit my lip and sighed, ‘I promised I’d try to blend in and look how that’s working out.’
‘Sneaking into the forbidden forest, pulling your wand on prefects. Keep it up and you’ll be attacking a teacher soon.’
I laughed, remembering that time I almost attacked Lockhart for making me play out one of his stupid stories. If I thought about it, it was indeed a miracle that I wasn’t expelled yet. When we left the great hall, I turned to the Gryffindor table, looking for Harry and Ron and gave them a thumbs-up. I decided to fill them in later. After walking around in the woods for days, eating and sleeping way too little, all I wanted was get into my bed and sleep through the night.