Chapter 3 : Hugo
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And he can see thestrals.
He was terrified of them, and he hated that he could see them.
They were a reminder of a sadness he’d rather forget.
He saw them for the first time in second year, when he travelled to the castle in the carriages. To everyone else, they were drawn by something invisible, something intangible.
But he saw them for what they were. They were death. They were despair.
He didn’t tell anyone that he knew what drew the carriages, for fear of his friends’ pity. It was one thing to know that his beloved grandmother had passed away last year; it was completely another to know that he was there with her, crying as she smiled at him one last time.
He was glad that she’d left this world with a smile.
He turned away from them, and climbed into the carriage, trying to hide from his grief and pain.
He successfully ignored them for years, only having to see them when he caught the carriages to and from school. As the years went on, the sharpness of his grief dulled, and with it, the intensity of his dislike for the vile creatures.
He knew it couldn’t last forever.
He was wandering through the Forest one afternoon, the steel grey of the sky hidden behind the dense canopy of the towering evergreens. He knew the paths well, preferring to spend most of his time here, the sounds of natural industry enveloping him in their complete disregard of his presence. He liked the Forest, a place where he was completely alone. With a family as large as his, it was a blessing.
He was in sixth year, and had the afternoon off. He’d followed his favourite trail to a small clearing, where rocky outcrops were almost covered by a deep green sea of grass. It was a place which was almost always unoccupied, animals choosing to inhabit it at times when he was not present.
Not this time.
He stopped short, just outside the tree-line, and stared.
A thestral stood in the centre of the clearing, almost peacefully tearing a hunk of raw meat with its fangs. A foal stood beside its mother and stared back at Hugo.
His breath shortened and his heart raced. Images of his grandmother flashed before his eyes.
The foal approached him, its overlarge batlike wings folded gracefully against its body.
He was sure that he’d sprouted roots, because he couldn’t move.
The young thestral reached him, and sniffed his pockets, finding the apple he’d shoved into one for a snack.
As if in a dream, Hugo reached into his pocket and pulled out the apple. He offered it to the young one on his flat palm.
It took it and munched happily. After finishing, it gave his still outstretched hand a lick with its sandpapery tongue.
He didn’t realise he was crying until a tear rolled down his collar.
He is Hugo Weasley.
And he loves thestrals.
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