Chapter 1: Confusion

Harry, Ron, and Hermione had decided to go and visit Hagrid one warm afternoon when they heard sobbing coming from his hut.

"I wonder what's wrong?" Hermione mused as Hedwig flew down from the Owlery window onto Harry's shoulder.

"Oh, hi, Hedwig," he said, stroking her and eliciting an appreciative hoot.

":Let's go find out," Ron said as they moved forward.

A few minutes later, they reached Hagrid's hut, and Harry and Ron allowed Hermione to lead them up the stairs. "Hagrid, it's us," she said gently. "Can we come in?" She paused. By moving her hand down to the doorknob, she found that it was unlocked. "Strange. That's not like Hagrid," she thought to herself as she stepped inside, Harry and Ron at her heels. "Hagrid, what is it?" she asked as she ran to him. He was sitting at his table, his beard sopping with the still-falling tears. "What's happened?"

"It's Dumbledore," Hagrid replied through tears as he indicated a makeshift bed where he slept. "He's hurt."

"How?" Harry inquired.

"His shoulder," Hagrid replied as Dumbledore groaned.

"It's all right, Hagrid," Hermione whispered soothingly. "I'll go to him. Harry and Ron can help you find Madame Pomfrey. I won't leave him 'til you get back, I promise."

Harry stepped forward, wrapping a few of his fingers around Hagrid's giant ones. "Come on, Hagrid," he said gently. "Hermione's gonna take care of Dumbledore for us 'til we can find Madame Pomfrey."

"I don't want ter leave him, Harry," Hagrid said sadly.

"It's all right, Hagrid," Hermione repeated from her place on the bed beside Dumbledore. "Go on."

Hagrid nodded as he followed Harry and Ron out the door.
Hermione sighed, glancing over at Dumbledore before getting up to close and lock it. After she'd done that, she returned to his side, for the thought of leaving him for only a moment made her nervous. Suddenly, he groaned again. "Professor Dumbledore, can you hear me?" she asked, taking his hand.

"Yes. Hermione, is that you?" he inquired softly. "Oh, my shoulder."

" Yes, it's me. Harry, Ron, and Hagrid went to find Madame Pomfrey. Professor, You'll feel better soon. Do you want me to take a look at it?"

Dumbledore nodded, wincing a bit as Hermione touched his left shoulder tenderly. "How did this happen?" she questioned.

"The Whomping Willow's getting temperamental. It threw sharp branches at me, and I couldn't dodge them fast enough, so they cut my shoulder." He groaned once more, causing Hermione to glance toward the door, hoping that Harry, Ron, Hagrid, and Madame Pomfrey would return soon. "Hold on," she whispered to Dumbledore.