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The injured red-tailed hawk drifted, his sleep interrupted several times by odd loud bangs and staccato noises and high-pitched voices coming from the corridor beyond the lab.  The pain in his wings and shoulders was dulled considerably from the agony it had been before, but he still experienced sharp twinges and throbbing.  Still, he could endure it, and for some reason that was important, that he not surrender to pain and cry out.  In the depths of his hazy memory, a voice that sounded like muted thunder yelled, Quit that bawling, Dudley didn't hit you that hard, you freaky brat! Had it coming to you, you unnatural creature!

The eyas trembled, the voice scared him, he disliked it immensely, though he had no memory of why or anything other than that single phrase.  He tucked his head beneath a wing, or tried to, since his wings were strapped tightly against his side. Making an irritated trill, he settled for resting his head along his side and fluffing his feathers a bit about his neck.  It pulled a bit on his sore shoulder muscles, but it was more natural to sleep that way, and he soon faded into an odd gray realm, aware and yet not aware.

He was yanked out of the gray realm by a creaking and then the soft sound of several large things walking.  He hissed, not liking the fact that they were coming towards him, and he soon discovered he couldn't move, something bound his feet securely to the perch beneath him.  He froze then, immobility and silence being his last defense against a threat.

The footsteps halted a few meters from his perch and he heard the tinkling and scraping of several . . .bottles, his memory supplied the word and the corresponding picture as well. 

"Draco, we really shouldn't be in here," hissed a deep voice.  It sounded worried. "If Snape comes back and catches us . . ."

"You worry too much, Crabbe.  Snape is off hunting for missing Potter like the rest of the staff.  He won't be back for another hour," said another, this one a bit higher in pitch and dismissive.  "Besides, we need the toad skin and the frog liver to make the prank work.  You were the one who wanted to see Weasley get warts like a toad and croak like a frog for all of Saturday."

"I know, but . . .this is Snape's private stock, and if he ever finds out we've been stealing his potions . . .we'll be lucky to get expelled."

"Relax, Vince.  Go and get the mini silver cauldron and then go and stand lookout by the door with Goyle if you're so unicorn-hearted."

"I'm not, Malfoy!" objected the other.  "I just don't fancy having Snape tear my arse to shreds is all."

"Why don't you cry about it?" sneered Draco.

The other moved away and the eyas heard the distinct clink of a cauldron being removed from a shelf. Then the footsteps halted and he heard a gasp emerge from the one called Crabbe.

"Merlin's pants! Draco, come and see this!  I never knew Snape kept pets!"

"He doesn't, you idiotic moron! He's above such things. There, I have everything.  Now quit gaping and let's get out of here . . ."

"But Draco, it's a bird . . .a hawk or something.  Look!"

"Probably a stuffed model," the other said dismissively, but leaned closer to inspect the bird.

Unable to remain still any longer, the young hawk gave a sharp cry of warning.

Draco nearly fell over.  "Bloody hell, it's alive!  Wonder where it came from?"

"It looks hurt.  See the bandage on its head and wings."

"Crabbe, that's not a bandage, it's a hood, you dunderhead! Don't you know anything?" Draco snorted.  "It's to keep it calm, otherwise it could go crazy and bash itself to death.  I've never seen a hawk close up.  Wonder if it's feathers feel the same as an owl's?"

"Draco, I wouldn't touch it.  It might bite."

"Please, Crabbe.  I know how to handle birds, I've got a bigger one than this little piece of dung.  I know what I'm doing."

The eyas felt a hand stroke his breast, and he shivered, for there was something about the hand and voice that he distrusted and he tried to edge away, but the jesses did not permit him to move along the perch.  The hand ruffled his feathers and then a finger touched a sore spot beside his left shoulder and the eyas screeched in anger and pain.  Enough was enough!

"Ye-oww!" screamed Malfoy, jerking his hand back.  "The bastard bit me! Hard.  I'm bleeding!"

"I told you not to touch it, Draco."

"Aw, shut up! Get me a rag, quick! I'm getting blood all over my robes." He gave the perch a violent kick, causing the hawk to wobble and slip off the perch.  "Vicious thing, I hope you die!"

The eyas found himself dangling upside down, for the jesses had just enough length in them to allow the bird to hang a foot or two away from the perch.  Unable to fly back up, the hawk began to revolve helplessly, small cries of fear and distress emerging from his throat.  Help! Help!

"Draco, we can't just leave it like that," protested Crabbe.

"You going to pick it up, Crabbe?" Malfoy challenged.  "Want to lose a finger? No? Didn't think so.  Come on, move your arse.  The bloody bird can rot, it probably would have died anyway."

"But Snape . . ."

"Will think the stupid thing fell off itself and committed suicide.  Move it, Crabbe! Unless you want get another three weeks of detention plus a disciplinary report sent home. Or be stuffed and used as an example to the first year Slytherins on what not to do."

The footsteps retreated and the lab door clicked shut, leaving the eyas crying and struggling frantically at the end of the tether, banging inadvertently into the wooden pole, jarring the newly bound wings painfully. The awful pain spurred the bird into even greater gyrations, panic overwhelming him utterly.  Only this time there was no dark rescuer to aid him and he soon battered himself into unconsciousness.


 



Chapter End Notes:

Hope you enjoy this one.

Next I'll have more of Snape's perspective plus a talk with Hagrid.

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