Chapter 1

Hermione was practicing various Jinxes in the common room one afternoon while Harry and Ron slumbered peacefully up in the boys' dormitory, exhausted from the stress of exams. Suddenly, she heard a tremendous crash. Gasping, she glanced up, surprised that the noise hadn't woken Harry and Ron. She rose with her wand at the ready and clambered out of the portrait hole. Glancing around, she noticed Professor Dumbledore struggling toward her. She rushed forward as she stowed her wand in her robes, offering him her arm when she reached him.

Professor?" she asked, startled as he staggered against her. "What is it? What's happened?"

Dumbledore panted, and Hermione gripped his arm tighter, for his knees were buckling.

"What was that crash?" she asked after gaining her own bearings again.

Dumbledore panted once more before speaking a little above a whisper. "It... was... Hagrid," he replied, struggling to breathe normally again. " He... fell... in... the.. entrance... hall. Hermione,... he... needs... your... help. Will... you... come... with... me... now?"

Hermione nodded. "Of course," she replied at once. "Shall I go wake Harry and Ron?"

"No, let them sleep," said Dumbledore as his breathing stabilized.

"Where's Hagrid now?" Hermione asked.

"He's waiting for us by the front doors," Dumbledore answered quietly. "Hermione, can I ask you a favor?"

Hermione nodded again. "Of course, Professor. What do you need?"

"I'm weak, Hermione. I must lean on you so we can get back to Hagrid."

Hermione nodded once more as she pulled Dumbledore's arm around both of her shoulders. "It's all right, Professor, The doors aren't far. Why are you so weak?"

"Hagrid's knees were buckling because he was upset, so he was leaning on me."

"Oh, my, no wonder," Hermione sympathized as they reached the oak doors. "Hagrid, Professor Dumbledore said you needed my help. What's wrong?"

"Hermione, thank goodness yeh came. It's Buckbeak. He's hidin' near me cabin like he's scared o' summat, an' I can' git 'im out. I was hopin' yeh could coax 'im, since yeh were so good with 'im before," Hagrid replied.

Hermione smiled. "I'll do what I can," she said as she patted his elbow. 'Let's go find him. Do you wanna come with us, Professor?"

"Yes, of course."

"Do you still need to lean on me?"

Dumbledore shook his head. "My knees are strong again, but I'll need your arm just in case," he said gently.

Hermione obliged him as they set off across the grounds, stopping at Hagrid's cabin. She clicked her tongue and was encouraged when she heard a low, crooning call. "Buckbeak?" she asked, bowing low.

Buckbeak took a few tentative steps away from the tree he was hiding behind, but hung back a bit.

Hermione stepped forward, still supporting Dumbledore, and patted Buckbeak gently with her free arm. As she did so, she noticed him shaking. "What's wrong, Buckbeak? What's scaring you?"

"I think I know," said a familiar voice.

Hagrid, Hermione, and Dumbledore turned. "Sirius!" they cried in unison.