Hagrid was worried. Daily routine rounds of his menagerie showed a concerning behaviour in one of his Thestral herds. Needless to say, he was extremely proud – nursing a large, not to mention only, a herd of these beasts in England was his pride. Looking down at Fang he grumbled as he tried to sneak up to the heard unnoticed. And that was easier said than done – his size and clumsiness didn’t help either.
"Dead clever they are. No use Fang, the ’eard us. Let’s go you slobbering coward." grumbled Hagrid in another failed attempt to sneak to them.
Hagrid loved his Thestrals, social as they are and accepting of him they still had their secrets. But more worrying one was large female. The Proud mare was always peculiar, a bit of a loner which was strange on its own. But lately, she would leave her foal and disappeared at odd times of day or night. She would be gone for just a few minutes up to the almost all night at the times. Yes, Hagrid had all the reasons to be worried.
The day passed by and Hagrid grumbled more and more trying to play a game of cat and mice with a mare. She would approach him, take the food out of his hand, allowed him to approach her foal. And yet, in a blink of an eye, she would raise her head and just take off in unknown direction, leaving her foal in the herd, swift and impossible to follow.
This forced Hagrid to raise many brows as he haunted Hogwarts library, looking for more to read about Thestrals, huffing at limited information in books. By his account, he knew more about the beasts than all the books combined. Sneaking up, or at least attempting to sneak up, he discovered that Luna, Ravenclaw girl, spend much time with his head. Occasionally even Harry joins her. Thinking about two kids able to see these magnificent animals, made Hagrid shake his head, breaking his heart.
Months passed, and the mare was acting odd. Hagrid was now seriously worried for her, he even considered a new herd of wild Thestrals settling nearby. However, that was not the case. Hagrid decided to change tactics. It was cold, a snowy night early in the winter, he heard a rush of wings and padded far away from the herd, hiding deep into the forest, keeping the herd in sight. Much to his surprise, mare landed not far from the place he chose as his hideout.
Just behind the tree line, on the small clearing, lighted with the soft waning moon. Mare was standing still, looking at the thick forest sniffing the air. Minutes passed, and finally, Hagrid noticed a figure approaching thru the trees, coming from the direction of the castle. Unmistakable, tall figure in black, was moving with long strides toward the clearing. Moonlight provide enough light for Hagrid to see a smile on a stern face as the man noticed the mare. With unusual soft voice, he addressed her
"You are here again. Did you wait for me?" he stretched his arm and mare pushed her head into his palm "Thank you."
The man sat on the snow-covered ground and mare huddled next to him. He was almost absentmindedly stroking her long neck. For a long time, they stayed that way in silence. Hagrid felt uncomfortable like he was witnessing something that was private, he felt like an intruder, but he could not move away without alerting them to his presence. Suddenly, the man spoke again
"As much as I cherish your company, I would give anything in this world to not be able to see you. You now that?"
He stood up and mare approached him closer, nuzzling her head to his. He raised his hands and hugged her neck. Man’s shoulders shook with silent sobs, face pressed at mares neck. She was perfectly still, allowing him to hold her in an embrace. Finally, sobs subsided and he separated himself from the mare, Hagrid could see tears that glistened on his cheeks. The man dragged one ragged breath and attempted to smile, from the inside of his robes he pulled one large chunk of meat and tossed it the mare. She gulped the meat fast.
"This one is for your little one." he tossed another chunk of meat. Mare nudged the man’s shoulder affectionately, picked up the meat, turned and fly away. He was looking after her.
"Thank you . . ." he whispered softly to the sky. He draws a long breath, straightens his shoulders, turned on the heel and stride into the direction he came from.
Hagrid was finally able to leave his hideout, wiped one tear he whispered into the night
"Dead clever, as I say. Good girl."