Harry Potter And The Physics Serpent Read Count : 50
Category : Books-Fiction
Sub Category : Romance
HARRY POTTER AND THE PYSHIC SERPENT
CHAPTER 1- MANUAL LABOUR
harry had planned to sleep late on the first day of the summer holiday.he felt as if he needed to sleep for a year after what he'd been through during his fourth year of wizarding training.Already possibly the most famous wizard in the world,apart from the dark wizard who had killed his parents,he was now probably even more famous,having won the triwizard tornament just a fortnight earlier,but his fame was only in the wizarding world.in the non-magical world,muggle world,he was just an annoyance to his aunt,uncle and cousin.he just wanted to sleep late and forget everything that had happened the previous ten months.
But instead he woke at seven-thirty in the morning to the cries and shouting of workmen,the squealing and grinding of backhoes,and the shrill voice of his aunt shouting instructions to the workers she had hired to relandscape the garden of number four privet drive,where harry was as welcome as an arsonist in a paper factory.it was impossible to try and sleep with all the racket,so he resigned himself to it and pulled back the sheets.he sat at the edge of the bed fumbling on the bedside table for his glasses.he rose so that he could walk to the wardrobe and look at his reflection in the mirror on the inside of the door.
He had grown several inches since the previous year,he had been so focused on trying to stay alive during the triwizard tournament that he didn't even notice he had a full blown adams Apple,he tried to sing some of his hogwarts school song,he was partial to loch lomond"I'll take the high road and you'll take the low road"but it came out sounding like a cross between a garden gnome being sat on by a Dragon and a rapid cat being kicked about,he cleared his throat and tried again this time he managed to produce a recognizable tune in a reedy tenor,causing him to become optimistic,he was only half way into the verse when he made a noise that was so startling that his snowy owl Hedwig woke up in her cage and flapped her wings agitatedly.
There was a sudden silence in the garden, then one of the workmen said"What in the bloody hell was that?"
Then another workman said"cor dick I think it was someone singing"
Harry grimaced into the mirror he dropped the voice experiments for now and lifted up his hair,examining the lightening-shaped scar on his forehead he let it flop back into his face, he needed a haircut,when he was younger he had always fought against haircuts (his aunt and uncle were endlessly frustrated by his hair) but now he Was thinking he needed something that made him look less like a scared little kid(as though it was standing on end because I was afraid)and more like a powerful wizard like lord voldemort should take seriously.
He also noticed that a dark downy haze had appeared on his chin upper lip and side lines, FACIAL HAIR!!!at last!maybe bye the end of the summer he would be shaving.he wondered if there were specially charmed razors that wouldn't ever cut a person while shaving.there had to be something,after all you don't see wizards walking about with little tufts of loo paper stuck to the shaving cut on there faces like uncle Vernon did every morning.sometimes they fell off his face at the breakfast table and into his coffee or food;harry never said anything when this happened,trying not to grin broadly when his detested uncle ate a spoonful of eggs prominently adorned with a wad of bloody paper,which his uncle did not notice with his face buried in the morning newspaper,at these times he would invariably say to Harry's aunt petunia "Petunia, What did you put in the eggs today! They're smashing!" And his aunt petunia would look self-satisfied and smug and launch into a discourse on a famous chef who was demonstrating recipes on a chat show.Harry would have to drop his fork and duck under the table to avoid them seeing the gleeful look on his face, and once he almost choked on his orange juice, trying not to laugh.
Anyway the facial hair wasn't even close to needing shaving, it looked more like he hadn't washed his face properly and a dirty film was still on his face.he looked at his chest in the mirror,he never slept with a shirt on still so thin that his ribs showed beneath the skim-milk skin. He tried flexing his muscles,turning his head to look in the mirror. Ludicrous. In a month he would be fifteen and hehad no muscles to flex.He lowered his arms and examined the other Voldemort-related scar he bore, the cut onthe inside of his right elbow where Wormtail had taken his blood to add to the cauldronwhere he was brewing the potion that would resurrect Voldemort. His blood--the blood ofa foe--was the final ingredient needed for Voldemort to get his body back, after bonesfrom his father's grave and flesh from a servant (Wormtail had cut off his own hand andhad been rewarded with a new silver one).Harry shook himself to clear his head, to rid himself of the horrific image of Wormtailwrithing on the ground, holding his bloody stump of an arm...The workmen had started up again, yelling to each other, and, like a descant above theirchorus, his aunt harangued them about the way they were doing the work. His uncle'sdrill plant was doing very well and he had told Aunt Petunia that she could have thegarden redesigned so that she could impress her garden club. She had hired a gardendesigner, whose plan the workmen were following, but now she was spending all of hertime changing her mind about every detail at the last possible moment and drivingeveryone crazy with the resulting chaos.Harry put on some shorts and a T-shirt, pulled on his socks and trainers and went out thedoor after slipping Hedwig an owl treat. In the kitchen his uncle was reading the morningpaper on kathelina valentine and preparing to bite down on a bit of bacon that had the requisite bloody papersitting on the part he was about to put in his mouth. Harry stifled a laugh and thrust hishead into the refrigerator to look for food so no one could see his expression.He sat down at the table with some orange juice and a banana he had taken from a bowlon the counter; a piece of buttered toast from a plate on the table completed his smallbreakfast. His cousin Dudley was sitting at the table already, almost done his "meal" ofyogurt, fruit and a rice cake. He'd been upgraded from grapefruit because he'd actuallysucceeded in sticking to his diet at school the previous year. To Harry's eyes he did looknoticeably smaller, even a little muscular, rather than like a mound of quivering blancmange. Since Harry had been home Dudley had even been reasonably civil to him,helping him carry his trunk up to his room from the car and bragging about all the weighthe'd lost. He didn't ask Harry anything about how his school year was; he just prattled onabout this girl he wanted to ask out in September, gushing on about Julia this and Juliathat. Harry listened patiently; he wasn't allowed to use magic outside of school and thatwas the only thing that probably would have made Dudley shut up. And he would have listened to Dudley blither about his girlfriend than be on the receiving end of apounding from him, as happened all too often during his early childhood.His aunt finally sat down to eat her breakfast, having left the workers in the garden alonefor the moment. But the peace of the breakfast table was suddenly shattered by a largebarn owl flapping in through the open window. It landed on Vernon Dursley's chair andprodded him to take two parchments from its right leg then turned an eye on the rest ofhis bacon. Annoyed, his uncle got up and backed away from the large bird of prey,yelling, "Harry! What does it want?"Sighing at his uncle's magic-phobia, Harry went to the owl and removed the parchments,surreptitiously slipping the owl some bacon as he did so. One parchment was addressedto his aunt and uncle and seemed to be in his godfather's handwriting; the other wasaddressed to him on official Hogwarts stationery. The owl hooted. Having successfullyperformed her duty and receiving no instructions to wait for a reply to be drafted, it flewback out the open window. Harry heard the workers outside yell in surprise, as herealized they'd done when it had arrived, but he was too preoccupied to notice before.He handed his uncle the letter from his godfather, Sirius Black, who was a fugitive fromjustice in the wizarding world because his former friend, Peter Pettigrew (thesilver-handed servant of Voldemort known as Wormtail) had successfully framed him forhis own murder and the murders of a street full of Muggles (non-magical people). Eversince he had told his aunt and uncle that he had a fugitive wizard for a godfather theDursleys had treated him slightly better.His uncle opened the letter and read with an expression that started out as annoyance(time taken out of his day to deal with what he called "Harry nonsense") moved on toperplexed and then surprised and even frightened. Harry had not opened his Hogwartsletter yet; he wondered what Sirius could have written that would make his uncle respondthis way. Uncle Vernon thrust the letter at Harry, seeming to be cautious about touchinghim, as though he were afraid that Harry could do magic on contact. Harry read the letter.Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dursley,I am writing to you because I am concerned about Harry. I wish I couldhave him with me and look after him myself, but as you know, my legalstatus in the wizarding community makes that impossible; even if Icontinue to successfully elude the authorities, traveling with the mostfamous young wizard in the world will make me appear somewhatconspicuous, and will do nothing to enhance Harry's safety. Theheadmaster of Hogwarts feels that he is safest with you for the but I want to caution you not to make life unduly stressful for him, as hehas experienced an inordinate amount of stress this year.Harry may not have told you about this, because he is very modest, buthe is the winner of the Triwizard Tournament that was held at his schoolthis year for the first time in over a century, and he is the youngestwinner ever. Another reason he may not tell you this is not modesty,however, but because he does not wish to remember what occurred atthe end of the Tournament, when he was transported to a place wherethe same dark wizard who betrayed his parents was preparing toresurrect the Dark Lord who actually killed them.Harry experienced horrible things that day, including seeing a fellowschoolmate killed before his very eyes. He dueled with Lord Voldemorthimself and escaped with his life, returning with his schoolmate's bodyso that his parents could mourn over him and give him a proper burial.He did more than many adult wizards could have--or would have--done,and has made me very proud of him, for his moral strength and integrityas much as his magical ability. All signs point to Harry one day being avery powerful and formidable wizard. Please treat him well--he won't bein school forever.I will come to accompany Harry to do his school shopping near the endof the summer, and to deliver him to the school train on September thefirst.Sirius BlackHis uncle looked at him through narrowed eyes. "And just how exactly would everyonerecognize you as being the famous Harry Potter?" Harry drew his lips into a straight lineand lifted his hair from his forehead to reveal his scar. Vernon drew his own lips into astraight line and muttered, "Oh, right." He sat down in his chair again, now that the owlwas no longer sitting on it, and sneered at Harry, "So! You're the hotshot tournamentwinner! You must think you're God's gift to magic!" Harry was surprised; normally, hisuncle avoided the M word. But then, he shouldn't be surprised that his uncle was trying toneedle him. It was as though he hadn't read the parts of the letter about modesty andtrying to forget about Cedric...Cedric Diggory had been the other Hogwarts champion, The Real Hogwarts Champion,proclaimed buttons that some of the students had worn the year before, buttons that, pressed, proclaimed POTTER STINKS in bilious green letters that were supposed to bereminiscent of his eyes (which were more like emeralds). He and Diggory had gone intothe final round of the tournament tied for first place. It had been so recent that Harrycould still feel the weight of Cedric's lifeless body, could still see the staring expressionon his frozen face, the blue eyes forever vacant and unseeing...Harry grimaced at his uncle but didn't dare say anything; he was biting back ruderesponses that could mean his being imprisoned in his room for the summer with hismagic supplies locked in the cupboard under the stairs again. Just because his uncle wasfull of himself and never missed an opportunity to brag he thought everyone was thatway. Harry saw that Dudley was actually looking at him with something like grudgingrespect."Well!" his uncle said at last. "Just stay out of my way this summer is all I ask!" He thrustthe letter at his wife and left for work, just short of having steam coming out of his ears,as though he had decided after all to take Sirius' advice and had been biting back somechoice words of his own. Dudley managed to get the letter from his mother, who hadgone to the open window to yell something to the workers again.Harry suddenly remembered that he was holding a letter of his own and he opened it,unable to stop a grin from creeping across his face as he read:HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRYHeadmaster: Albus Dumbledore(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump,International Confed. of Wizards)Dear Mr. Potter,As your head-of-house, I am pleased to inform you that I have named you to be a prefect,effective when the new term begins on September the first. This is a responsibility that Iknow you will not take lightly, as your record speaks for itself. You will be responsiblefor other students' conduct when professors are not present and you will be expected touphold all school rules and regulations to the letter. This is an important leadershipposition. We expect nothing but the best from our prefects. Both of your parents wereprefects, and I know they would be proud of you.As a prefect, you will have access to certain school facilities that are not available to thegeneral student population, and you will be required to attend regular meetings of all of
the prefects in the fifth, sixth and seventh years, which are led jointly by the Headand Head Girl, who will be Roger Davies of Ravenclaw House and Alicia Spinnet of ourown Gryffindor House.Congratulations, Harry! I look forward to welcoming you as a prefect on September thefirst.Yours sincerely,Minerva McGonagallDeputy HeadmistressHarry looked at the accompanying list of new fifth-year prefects.GryffindorHermione GrangerHarry PotterHufflepuffHannah AbbottErnie MacMillanRavenclawMandy BrocklehurstEvan DaviesSlytherinMillicent BulstrodeDraco MalfoyMalfoy! Harry groaned; he should have known it, though. Of course Snape would pickMalfoy to be a prefect! Severus Snape was the Potions Master and head of SlytherinHouse. He thought Malfoy could do no wrong and that Harry could do nothing right. Hewasn't too surprised about the Hufflepuff prefects; he knew Hannah and Ernie fromHerbology class, but he didn't know Mandy Brocklehurst at all and only knew that Evan
Davies was Roger Davies' brother and also on the Ravenclaw Quidditch "I'm a prefect," he said simply to his aunt and cousin, trying not to sound too pleased. Hisaunt grunted."You! A prefect!"Harry could not keep the hurt out of his voice. "My mum and dad were prefects. In fact,my mum and dad were Head Girl and Head Boy."His aunt looked stern. "I don't want to hear about your parents. Or that--that--school ofyours," she said, as though she didn't think school were the right word at all.He took his letter up to his room, bringing some smuggled bacon for Hedwig, andwondering with whom he could share his good news. He thought of his best friend, RonWeasley, but then, Ron hadn't been named a prefect, so perhaps that wouldn't beespecially tactful. He had pretty much forgotten the part of Sirius' letter that mentionedhis modesty; he was just bursting to tell somebody who would actually be happy about it.He could send a letter to Hermione, who was visiting the Greek Islands with her parents,but she would be getting her own prefect letter and know all about it, if she didn't already.After Greece, the Grangers would all be going up to visit Viktor Krum and his family inBulgaria. She had met Viktor when he had come with his headmaster from anotherwizarding school, Durmstrang, to compete in the Triwizard Tournament. Viktor had beenthe champion from his school, and had rescued Hermione from the lake on the schoolgrounds during one of the tournament tasks. Harry would write to Hermione later, on thepretense of congratulating her on being named a prefect.Then it hit him: Hagrid! He pulled some parchment and a quill and some ink from hismessy trunk and sat down at his desk to write a quick note to Hagrid to tell him he wasgoing to be a prefect; he knew Hagrid wouldn't think he was crowing or putting on airs,he would be genuinely happy for him. Hagrid was one of his best friends, a largehalf-giant who had been expelled from Hogwarts in his third year because he was thoughtto have opened the Chamber of Secrets (he was framed by Voldemort himself, who fiftyyears earlier had simply been the student Tom Riddle). After that, he landed the job ofgamekeeper at the school, where he'd been ever since. It had been Hagrid who had cometo fetch him to Hogwarts when he was eleven and had no idea that he was famous or awizard or even that his parents had been assassinated by a Dark Lord, not killed in a caraccident, as he'd always been told by his aunt and uncle (in an extremely nasty tone ofvoice, as though it was all their own fault and they'd richly deserved it).He finished the note to Hagrid and tied it onto Hedwig's leg, giving her the rest of the
bacon before she flew off, hearing another shout go up as the landscapers were by yet another owl flying about in the daytime. Oops, thought Harry. I shouldn't havedone that. Aunt Petunia'll be having kittens...He wasn't exactly sure where Hedwig was going to find Hagrid but he was certain thatwherever he was she would in fact find him. Harry knew that Dumbledore had sent himto the continent on a diplomatic mission to speak to giants about uniting againstVoldemort now that he was back in power. Voldemort was counting on the giants beingon his side, and Dumbledore knew he had better do something to guarantee their loyaltybefore Voldemort got to them. Dumbledore was also worried that Voldemort would finda way to get to the Dementors and turn them to his side; they were the guards at thewizarding prison, Azkaban, where his godfather had been incarcerated (without a trial)for twelve years before his unprecedented escape. Dementors were eerie and had givenHarry nightmares at one time; in his third year, when he was learning to fight boggarts(which always turned into whatever the person feared most) his boggart always turnedinto a Dementor so he had learned to fight it by conjuring a Patronus. He had a feelingthat these days, if he encountered a boggart, it would no longer turn into a Dementor...He had also inquired whether Hagrid had heard anything about his own mother,Fridwulfa, a giantess with a bloodthirsty reputation who had left him and his father whenHagrid was very young. Giants in general had a very bad reputation, and were creditedwith some of the worst mass Muggle killings during Voldemort's reign of terror. Harryhoped Dumbledore could in fact make allies of the giants, although he was not so surethat they should be on the same side as such murderous creatures. Better than havingthem on Voldemort's side, he supposed.After he had sent Hedwig off with Hagrid's letter he stared around his room, at a loss forwhat to do, since he wasn't sleeping late after all. He heard another noise in the gardenand went over to the window. The backhoe was digging a rather large hole in the gardenfor an artificial pond. Harry watched for a few minutes, deciding that he would go out tohave a better look. Watching the landscapers seemed like a better idea than just mopingaround his room wishing he could run and shout, "I'm a prefect! I'm a prefect!" at the topof his lungs.He went out the kitchen door and found an unobtrusive place to sit against the wall of thehouse while the workmen moved rocks and used surveyor's equipment and consulted listsand other paperwork. They'd been working for about two weeks, according to his auntand uncle. The garden already looked completely transformed to Harry. After a while hebecame restless and asked Dick, the boss, whether they needed another pair of hands. Hefelt Dick appraising his thin pale arms. He said, "Ye sure ye're up to it? Â‘Tis hard work"Harry assured him he was indeed up to it and set to work moving and lifting whateverthey told him to, enjoying the camaraderie of engaging in manual labor with men hedidn't know, who treated him at first as a frail, laughable kid but soon gave him asurprising respect after seeing how hard he was willing to work; they were also surprisedat his wiry strength and by what he was able to do. Maybe I have some muscles after all,thought Harry, carrying a large rock across the garden.He took lunch with the workers, some of whom removed their shirts in the hot noon sunor laid back on the ground to absorb the sun's warmth. Harry decided to do the same,leaving himself open to some good-natured jibes about blinding them all with his pallor.In a week, however, his pallor was a thing of the past and his lack of visible muscles wasstarting to be a thing of the past, too.After he'd been working with the landscapers for a week he was startled by a smallgarden snake slithering past him while he leaned back and soaked up some sun afterlunch. The snake caught his attention because she was talking and he could understandevery word she said.The snake was muttering, "Find a perfectly good home and the next thing you know, it'sbeing rent asunder, great yahoos tromping all over the place, digging up my favoriteflower beds..." Even though he had known since he was in his second year in school thathe was a Parselmouth (someone who can understand and speak snake language) he didn'toften think of it. He seldom had any contact with snakes. He spoke to the snake now,though."Sorry about all this. It was my aunt's idea. It may be going on for a few more weeks, I'mafraid."The snake stopped moving, lifted her head and seemed--if it was possible for a snake todo this--to have a shocked expression on her face. "What did you say?""I said that it was my aunt's idea. Messing up your home like this. If you like, maybe Icould help you find some other garden to live in.""No," the snake said. "I meant that I have never been spoken to by a human in my ownlanguage before. I hear humans speak Human language. But never mine.""Oh," Harry said, hissing. "I'm a Parselmouth. I'm going into my fifth year of wizardingschool. When I was a baby, a very powerful wizard who was also a Parselmouth tried tokill me and failed, and some of his abilities transferred themselves to me. But I don't getto be around snakes much, so I tend to forget I can do it"I have heard of wizards, and I have heard legends of wizards who could speakParseltongue, but I never believed it.""Well, it's pretty rare. One time I talked to a boa constrictor. He told me he'd never beento Brazil. He lived in the zoo, but I accidentally freed him.""What is a boa constrictor?" she asked. After a pause she said, "They are looking at you,"the snake suddenly informed him before she went slithering off into a bush. Harry lookedup to see the entire crew gaping at him as though he'd gone mad. After a minute herealized that they hadn't actually heard what he'd been saying to the snake; they'd onlyheard hissing. Even to his own ears, when he spoke in Parseltongue, it sound like just somuch hissing, although his brain then converted the hissing sounds into words. He couldonly actually speak Parseltongue when he was confronted with a snake. STOP HEREHe smiled sheepishly at them. "Well, you've got to speak to them in their own language,"he said, shrugging. There was perplexed silence at first, then Dick rearing back his headin unrestrained laughter, which was the signal for the others that they were allowed to dothat too. Harry laughed with them. Well, he was telling the truth; he was speaking to thesnake in her own language. While he was working that afternoon, he kept an eye out forher, but didn't see her. He was sleeping soundly every night, rolling into bed exhaustedfrom the work, his muscles aching, but at least now he had some muscles. And his skinwasn't the color of parchment anymore, either. He was glad to have the physical activityto take his mind off Voldemort.Very early the next morning, before anyone was up, he finally gave in to the temptationto write to Hermione about being a prefect, and she apparently had also succumbed tothis temptation, as her owl arrived in Harry's bedroom about five minutes after Hedwigleft to give his letter to her.Dear Harry,Congratulations on being a prefect! Of course I had really hoped that I would get to beone, and I had a feeling that, out of the fifth-year boys, it would be you.Harry hoped she didn't tell Ron that; he was very touchy about competing with his olderbrothers, two of whom had been prefect and then Head Boy.Mum and Dad and I are having a great time in the Greek Islands. In a couple of weekswe're going up to Bulgaria to visit Viktor's family. They live in Sofia, the capital. MaybeViktor can help me improve my broomstick technique. He's gotten a job as reserve with--guess what team? The Chudley Cannons! Ron should be pretty happy about that!Harry strongly suspected that Ron would be torn about that; he had been pretty agitatedabout Hermione and Viktor Krum going to the Yule Ball the previous Christmas, andonly at the end of the term had he given in to his impulse to ask Krum for an autograph.Krum had been the star of the Quidditch World Cup the previous summer. Quidditch wasa wizarding sport played on broomsticks, and Harry played Seeker on his house team atschool. He looked down and finished reading Hermione's letter.So, since Viktor will be working in England, he can meet me in Hogsmeade on weekendswhen we're allowed to go down to the village. You don't think they'll cancel Hogsmeadevisits now that You-Know-Who is back, do you?Here's a photo of me and my parents at the Parthenon. Next we're going on to Corfu.Please take care of yourself and tell Dumbledore and Sirius right away about your scarhurting or anything else that could indicate dark magic. Missing you.Love from HermioneHarry looked at the photo she had enclosed; it was a Muggle picture, no moving peoplein it. Hermione stood with her parents in front of a large Greek temple, both of them withtheir arms around her, their little girl who was not so little anymore. She was wearing avery tight sleeveless white top and a matching skirt that was very brief. Her exposed armsand legs were already very brown, and then he noticed that she'd cut her hair; it wasrather short, curling all over her head in a free and yet much more orderly way than itusually did. The shorter haircut seemed to work much better with her hair's natural wave,and he almost didn't recognize her at first. But after squinting at it for a moment, he couldtell from the nose and shape of the face and the way she smiled that it was her. She woredark glasses against the glaring Greek sun and looked quite happy, enjoying a trip to theGreek Islands with her folks. Harry caught his breath for a moment and thought, I justhope they're safe. What if Voldemort tries to get to her while she's traveling?Harry had mentioned to Sirius that he was concerned that Voldemort would try to coercehim to do his bidding by coming after Ron and Hermione. Sirius agreed that that was adanger, but he took a wait-and-see attitude, and promised to discreetly check in on eachof them during summer vacation.Then he looked up in surprise as Ron's owl, Pigwidgeon, flew in with a letter. Ron's owlwas very small and could be held in the palm of one's hand, and he was also veryexcitable, yet not dreadfully useful for owl post because he couldn't handle anythingreally big. Pig fluttered frantically around the room for a minute, while Harry tried snag him and grab the letter he was delivering. When he finally had the letter in his handhe sat down on the bed to read it.Dear Harry,Well, congratulations on being a prefect. Hermione wrote and told me. Can you believeMalfoy got chosen too? He'll be even more of an insufferable git than he was before--ifthat's possible.Did you know that Hermione is going to visit Krum? And that he's going to play for theCannons? I feel like I'm in prison; we never go anywhere. That trip to Egypt a couple ofyears ago was a contest we won. And now we don't even have the excuse of going toRomania or Egypt to visit Charlie or Bill because they're taking time off work andstaying here for a while. Dumbledore thought it would be a good idea. And yet SHE getsto flit around the Greek Islands and visit a wizard who just graduated from a schoolwhere they actually TEACH the dark arts!Anyway, Sirius said he's going to fetch you at the end of the summer and bring you hereon the Knight Bus. Then we can go shopping from here using Floo powder. Dad's gettingMinistry cars to take us to the train on September first. I can't believe you have to staywith the Muggles until then! But Dumbledore says that's for the best too.I haven't heard from Hagrid, have you? I'm not sure whether I want him to find his mumor any of the other giants. I'd settle for them to just stay in the mountains and not getinvolved in a wizard war at all. How's your scar? No pain, I hope. Write to me and tellme what you want for your birthday. See you in August. ---RonHarry put the letters away and propped the photo on a shelf. He gave Pigwidgeon an owltreat and sent him on his way. It was early in the morning and he needed to get dressedand down to the garden to get back to work. It was very satisfying, somehow, the way thelandscaping was coming together. Harry could have been quite happy to go into worklike this, if he had never discovered he was a wizard. He tried to imagine a life of being aMuggle, being completely ignorant of the wizarding world...but he couldn't. His life wasso different now from the way it was before his eleventh birthday, it was as though thosepre-magic years were lived by someone else.After grabbing a quick breakfast, Harry went out into the garden. It was very early, so noone else had shown up yet, and Harry started moving rocks about. After about half anhour, Dick came walking up the path from the street, alone. Harry looked up in surprise."Morning, Harry."Morning, Dick. Where's everyone else?"Dick looked about sixty, but Harry was just guessing; he was as brown and leathery asyou could hope a gardener to be, with silvery hair swept back from his face and kind blueeyes. Harry was sometimes reminded of Dumbledore when he saw him. Dick put hishand on his chin now and looked as if he were reluctant to deliver some bad news."Well, the thing of it is, we've gotten another job, and they're payin' double for it to bedone quick. Plus, your aunt has--well, made my men reluctant to work here anymore." Hepaused and looked around the incomplete garden. "But, we do have a contract, so I'll stayon here and continue this job, and a few times a day I'll check in with my men on theother job. You still want to help me, Harry?"Harry smiled at him and nodded. "Of course. I've been enjoying myself."Dick sighed and looked his age for once. "Some's have the right to do it just forenjoyment; some's have to do it to make a living."Harry flushed, thinking of all the gold in his vault at the wizarding bank, Gringotts. Ronwas touchy about money, too, and was upset with Harry for not telling him that someleprechaun gold he'd given Harry had disappeared the following day; leprechaun goldwas apparently not permanent.So he and Dick got to work on the garden, and things slowed down considerably. Harrydidn't mind, though; he wasn't especially fond of working with a crowd. After it had beenjust the two of them for several days, it seemed like it had always been like that. It wasvery comfortable working with Dick; he wasn't much of a talker. They ate lunch togethercompanionably in the sunshine, then Dick laid back against a pile of potting soil bags fora little nap. Harry took off his shirt and leaned back too, basking in the sun. When it wastime to get back to work, Harry put on his shirt again and picked up the trash from thelunch to take it inside. As he was going in the kitchen door, he heard a hissing voice say,"The rocks will fall. The rocks will fall. The rocks will fall..."Harry looked around, perplexed. There was a pile of rocks in the corner of the gardenwaiting to be used around the artificial pond. Harry squinted around the garden, lookingfor the snake he'd talked to before. He couldn't see her. Saying, "Hmmm," to himself, hecarried the trash into the kitchen. As he was coming back outside again, Dick went overnear the rock pile to select a small shrub with sacking around its roots to plant near theback doorHarry was probably a good fifty feet away when it happened; there was nothing he couldhave done. The rocks came clattering down, knocking Dick onto his side and thenshattering his left leg. Harry ran around the various obstacles in his path to try to reachhim. Dick was lying on the ground with a huge mound of stones on him, sweat runningdown his face, looking like he wanted to scream and holding it back. Harry reached him,remembering breaking his leg during the Triwizard Tournament. And once, he'd had togrow back all of the bones in his arm after a Quidditch match. But he didn't have accessto magical medicine here, or even enough magic to help his friend get out from under thepile of rocks. Harry felt like he was in a trance as he worked swiftly to move all of therocks, one by one, off poor Dick, who was looking ashen under his tan, biting his lip andbreathing raspily. Two weeks before, Harry would have had trouble moving any one ofthe rocks he was practically tossing aside now, with no regard for where they werelanding (a number of carefully-placed plants were crushed and would have to bereplaced). While he worked, he yelled for his aunt and cousin to call for an ambulance.They finally appeared at the kitchen door as Harry was removing the last few rocks fromDick's body.Harry grasped Dick's hand while the paramedics set his leg and rolled him onto astretcher so they could carry him to the ambulance. He watched the ambulance drive off,and he tried not to feel responsible, but it was difficult. He'd heard the warning, and he'ddone nothing; he disregarded it. He was sure it had been a snake's voice he'd heard, thesame snake he'd talked to before. He didn't quite hear his aunt complaining bitterly aboutthe work not getting done, and ranting about the plants Harry had crushed. Harry movedabout in a daze, ignoring her at first, then facing her stonily and said, "I'll do it." Shelooked at him through shrewd, narrowed eyes, eyes that wondered what he was up to. "Ifyou pay me," he added. He tried to come up with an amount he knew his aunt couldn'trefuse--he mustn't get too greedy. "Five pounds a day," he said, drawing himself up to hisfull height of five-feet six-inches, looking her in the eye. He was as tall as her now.She narrowed her eyes even more, looking for the catch, but it was a low enough amountthat even she couldn't argue. She agreed and went back into the house, leaving Harry tolook around the garden helplessly, feeling guilty and alone. He swept his eyes over theentire garden quickly, but he didn't see the snake, so he tried calling softly, "Here snake,here snake..." but it sounded like English; he wasn't speaking Parseltongue. She must notbe nearby, he thought. He worked for the rest of the afternoon alone, stacking the rocks inthe corner more securely, and assessing the damage from his having thrown them aboutto remove them from Dick.He collected five pounds from his aunt at the end of the day, making himself a sandwichfor dinner and then rolling into bed early, aching all over. Now, every day, he got up the sun, showered and dressed, and went out to the garden to continue his solitary labor.A few days after Dick's leg was crushed, Harry was basking in the sun after eating lunchwhen he heard a hissing voice near him."How is your friend? Why did you not tell him about the rocks?"Harry looked around, then saw the snake near his feet. She was about twenty inches longand dull green, with glittering eyes and vertical pupils, like a cat's. "He'll be okay. I--don'tknow why I didn't tell him. I didn't realize that--that--""That snakes have the Sight?" she hissed softly. Harry nodded. His least favorite class atschool was Potions, because he couldn't stand Professor Snape. But at least he did feelthat Potions were useful, that he was learning something important. He thought that hismost useless class was Divination. Professor Trelawney seemed to enjoy spending everyclass predicting Harry's untimely death. According to her, he was supposed to have dieddozens of times over by now. Harry had never seen anything while staring in a crystalball or at a lump of tea leaves in a teacup, and he tended to make up things when doingstar charts.Now, though, Harry was confronted by the possibility that the snake was telling the truth.And since very, very few humans could understand snake language, who would be in aposition to know that snakes could predict the future? Even he hadn't believed her; hewas as sorry as he could be about that."If you have the Sight," Harry said to her, "tell me: will Voldemort be stopped?""Who?" the snake hissed. "You do not understand. I can only see a few minutes into thefuture, and only what is right around me. I cannot predict events happening far away.And I get only a glimpse of the future; the larger a snake is, the further into the future hersight reaches, and the farther distant."Harry had a sudden thought. "Would you like to come to school with me in September?It's up north, and cold, but I could--I could--" Harry floundered, then had a brainstorm. "Icould wear you wrapped around my arm to absorb my body heat! You could be my petsnake!"She looked at him. "What is Â‘pet?' I do not understand.""Well," Harry said, "humans sometimes choose some animals to take care of and givethem names and bring them into their houses to live with them. Those animals are theirThe snake hissed at him, "I am not a pet. If I go with you, it will be my choosing, notyours. What is a name?""Well," Harry said again, "my name is Harry Potter. It's what people call you..." he trailedoff, unable to put the concept of names into words."I thought you were called Â‘lazy git,'" said the snake. Harry realized she had heard hisaunt addressing him."No, no, that's not the same as my name. That's called an insult. It's to be mean. Let's see,you predicted the future and I didn't believe you, so I'll name you--Cassandra.""Why?""Because there was this seeress in Greek mythology named Cassandra who was blessedwith being able to predict everything about the future, but cursed to have no one believeher." The snake did not reply; he wondered whether any of what he had just said madesense to her. "But Cassandra is a little long to say all the time, so I'll just call you Sandyfor short.""For short what?"Harry was starting to get a little impatient with the snake; just because you could talk tosnakes, he thought, didn't mean you could really talk to them. "For a nickname. Anickname is like a shorter version of your name.""What is your nickname?""Well, I guess it's Harry," he said, never having considered it before. He'd never seen hisbirth certificate. Was his real name Harold? Or Harrison? Or it could be that his wholename was just plain Harry. He had no idea."But that is your name.""I know." Now Harry was really tired of explaining concepts to the snake that everyhuman just knew. He wanted to get back to work. He put his shirt back on, shivering;some clouds had passed in front of the sun."Harry Potter," the snake said suddenly."Yes, Sandy?" Harry said, trying out her new name "I want to try your arm.""What?""The sun is hidden. I am cold. You talked about wearing me on your arm. I am verycold."He picked her up, enjoying the feel of her smooth skin, and carefully wrapped her twiceabout his upper left arm. She adjusted her tail and settled her chin on it, letting out anaudible sigh. Harry smiled. She didn't weigh more than a few ounces; no wonder she canonly see a short distance into the future, he thought.Harry worked the rest of the day with her wrapped about his arm, and they talked everyso often. He tried to speak simply and clearly to her, as though she were a little dim, buthe tried not to be insulting. He didn't want to confuse her about human concepts she'dnever been exposed to before. She seemed to be trying to speak simply to him too, asthough he were not quite bright enough to understand otherwise. When he was havingtrouble lifting a very heavy rock--not one that had fallen on Dick--she told him she hadheard the other workers telling each other to lift with their legs.Harry looked down at his legs, which were still rather thin, although they were at leasttanned now. "I can't," he said. "They're not strong enough.""Make them stronger," she said simply. Harry thought about this. Yes; he could take uprunning. That would make his legs stronger.But he was far too exhausted to run at the end of the day; he just needed dinner and sleep.So he decided that first thing in the morning, he would go running, before beginningwork in the garden. He also decided that he knew what he wanted for his birthday: a bookabout performing magic using snakes. He had heard that some powerful dark magic couldbe done with snakes; maybe some things could be done that weren't dark magic. Hewould ask Sirius about it.He went to bed that night feeling like this wasn't such a bad summer after all. He'd spentthe previous year becoming stronger magically, for the tournament, and now he wasbecoming stronger physically and also making use of some of his more arcane abilities.And if it helped him fight Voldemort, maybe he should learn some dark magic;Voldemort wouldn't be expecting that, or a snake of his own...Harry picked up the picture of Hermione and her parents and looked at it while lying inbed, preparing to go to sleep. I won't let anything happen to you, he thought fiercely. Ron. I won't. Voldemort will have to come through me and Sandy to get you.* * * * *CHAPTER 2 - MEET CAT VALENTINE
- Cat Valentine awoke in her bedroom in her mansion in Surrey to her mother's voice " cat wake up you have a concert today you cant afford to sleep in". MUM ARE YOU CRAZY! it's 8:o'clock in the morning the concert is at 10pm and I don't have class today" I said burying my face in my pillow.when cat was 11 years old she had received a letter from Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry admitting her into there school cat had wanted all her life to sing and she had been on the verge of landing a record deal with a popular company and she and her friend hadn't wanted to go to Hogwarts so she asked her mother to bend the rules and so she went up to diagon alley and hired a wizard to teach me and my friends magic so we could still start our careers. Today we are very famous and rich rappers and singers in our fifth year of magical education.her mother frowned at her "yes dear but you still have to get everything ready,your make -up,outfit,theme and you have that interview with Jordan matters remember you have a schedule honey", i sat up and groaned,that's when my brother mason came in and said "ahh..the price of fame, bet you wish you had gone to that school assuming you wouldn't be arrested". My mum had said when I would never ever be able to go to Hogwarts after she got the teacher or I would be arrested for underage magic and illegal magic education. From what I heard about Azkaban it doesn't sound like a walk in the park made sure I never got caught. "Get out both of you I gotta get changed".once they were gone I got out my phone to check if Bryce had called. Bryce hall was my boyfriend,I hadn't heard from hi me since the day before yesterday. I had refused to call because I didn't want to seem clingy but now I just had to call.I dialled his number and hit "enter" it rung and rang but he didn't answer I was starting to get worried but I put my phone aside if something was wrong the paparazzi would know about it.I got ready ate a quick break fast and headed to the studio there I met hamber, my personal assistant.hamber was very helpful and useful sometimes a bit of a bitch but you gotta love her. "Cat! The stylist Is here and she said she has the best outfit for your concert its F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!!!!".she dragged me to the stylist and in no time.was ready then I spotted Nigel at the door on the phone.so I went to meet him. When he saw me he had a bewildered look on his face. "I'll call you back", he said;" you look amazing ", I smiled at him."I mean you'd be perfect if you were staring in a movie called "backdoor blondes",his voice hard suddenly"and your hair looks like you plucked it off a blow up doll". The smile faded from my face.Nigel was the one who helped me start my career but someone times he's a dick!"I'm sorry its just pretty frustrating you under stand don't you "