Date: September 1, 2000
Summary: Dennis helps Hagrid gather the thestrals.
Dennis arrived early the next morning, following the path from Hogsmeade to school. Professor McGonagall greeted him and told him that his things would be taken up to the Gryffindor tower. Mr. Flich sneered at him as Dennis bounce off towards Hagrid's Hut. The caretaker followed him through the castle and back out onto the grounds where Hagrid was stepping out.
"Oi! Dennis! 'Ow yer doin'?"
"Just brilliant, Hagrid. Can't believe I'm back already and I miss the Reserve. Did I tell you? They gave me this summer internship at the Welsh Dragon Reserve..." Soon Dennis had launched into all the things he had learned over the summer as Hagrid pointed out two large and slightly bloody bags. Still talking, he collected two bags and Hagrid collect two as well.
"Blimey, Hagrid these smell like meat."
"Of course they do. 'Ow else am I supposed to get 'em to come to me?" At first Dennis had no idea what Hagrid was talking about and then he explain not all the thestrals were ready for the carriages.
Catching thestrals was much easier if one could see them. Dennis could because of the Battle of Hogwarts and his brother. He knew Hagrid could see them too, but before that May night. A lot of his classmates could see them now. Some of the younger classes couldn't, which Dennis felt it was a shame; they were beautiful in their unique way. At the same time, he understood that seeing them most likely meant seeing the dead body of a loved one. Shaking his head, Dennis clear his thoughts away to focus on the job.
With a wave of his arm, Hagrid told Dennis he had been hunting them in the Forbidden Forest for the past week, but there were still a handful missing. "We're going leave a trail towards the pen and wait for 'em to come to us."
In Dennis' mind it sounded like a sound plan, so every so often, the gamekeeper would reach into one of the bags and leave some blood then the meat along the path as they approached the pen from one side. However, the closer they got the more excited the penned thestrals became. Dennis pulled out three or four pieces and tossed them inside, so the penned ones wouldn't follow the trails made for the other ones.
The two of them worked, making paths of meat and blood for about two hours before a pair of them came out of the wooded area moving towards the pen. Dennis pulled out a piece of meat and offered it to one of the creatures. After creature got close enough to take it from his hand, he tossed it into the pen, ushering the two stragglers in with the rest.
"Good work, Dennis."
"Thanks, Hagrid," he said. "Have thestrals always been used?"
Dennis was then treated to one of Hagrid's stories about how miss understood thestrals were when he was at Hogwarts.