At The End

Care of magical creatures

Harry was surprised at how quickly the final year of Hogwarts was going. The months flew by at an alarming rate. The rest of the year was without any more activity from Voldemort. And though Harry was glad for not having any distractions from his exams, yet he was also uneasy that there was no other sign from the dark lord.

Three days before the start of the holidays, Harry stood, shivering, in knee depth snow with the rest of his care of magical creature's class. Harry was grateful for the creatures they were studying. Harry, Ron and Hermione were trying to listen to Hagrid's explanation of the animals when Draco sidled over to them.

"This is the potion." He said, handing a small glass vial, with a strange purple liquid in it, to Ron. "Remember to only take it when it's necessary." He informed Ron. Ron stared at the vial and nodded.

"Yeah, yeah. I know." He told Draco. "At least it's not as bad as the Polyjuice potion." Ron said. Draco raised his eyebrow.

"Trust me, this stuff, makes the Polyjuice potion taste like butterbeer." Draco informed him. Ron shuddered.

"You're joking?" Ron asked. Draco shook his head.

"No, I'm not. This stuff has a bad aftertaste. At least Polyjuice potion doesn't have an aftertaste." Draco said. Ron opened his mouth to reply when Hagrid's voice cut him off.

"Now," Hagrid told the shivering group. "If you pull their tails they'll breathe fire." He explained. The class all exchanged weary looks.

These little critters reminded Harry of a rabbit. Except these rabbits didn't have big bunny ears, they did have a long, black, sharp tail.

"So? Who wants ter be the firs' ter to pull em?" Hagrid questioned. Harry was ready for this. He had learnt with Buckbeak, he made sure if they stepped backwards then he would too. Nobody moved. Harry smiled as a thought struck him.

"Ron would like to go first." Harry told Hagrid with a smile. Ron's head snapped around to Harry.

"What!" he screamed.

"That's right." Draco piped up. "I heard him telling Potter he wanted to show he was brave."

Ron was trembling, he looked at Draco scornfully. "No, I never!" He squeaked. Harry grinned.

"Go on then." He told Ron. He made a gesture at the animals.

Ron cautiously inched toward the small creature. When he drew close enough, he bent down and slowly extended a hand to touch it. He almost had it when something unexpected happened.

There was an incredibly loud bang from within the Hogwarts castle, and the ground shook, as though being attacked by a small earthquake. The sound made the entire class jump in fright. Ron, who was kneeling, fell over. Every head turned toward the source of the noise.

Harry saw it immediately. The Astronomy tower was ablaze. Ron, Hermione and Draco were at his side in an instant, wands at the ready.

It's him." Harry said quietly.

"He's come for you." Draco agreed.

"Well..." Said Ron, more strongly then Harry would've expected. "Let's not keep him waiting."

The four young, brave and terrified teenagers withdrew their wands simultaneously. Then began moving up to the castle.

As they made their way to the castle a solitary and forlorn pair of eyes followed them, knowing that one would be saying goodbye to the others forever….

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