Disclaimer: Original Harry Potter characters belong to JK. Sally is MINE! You can't have her. The plot line is mine, and I did not copy it from anybody, or borrow anyone's ideas. This is all, unfortunately, straight from my own mind. If you want to use something in this story, I will probably let you, just ask. Don't sue me, I don't have any money.
(A/N: Just to keep you from getting confused, this is a story about Harry's fourth year. It does follow the first three stories, but not the forth, because I started writing before the forth book was out. A big thank you to my beta, who caught more mistakes then there where words. She does a great job.)
When Harry Met Sally
Harry glanced up at his bedside table to check his clock. It read 11:56 p.m. He placed a large X over another day on his calendar, it was the eighth X he had put on the calendar. He had only been back at the Dursleys for a week, but it had felt like a year to him.
All he had done since he had come home from school was clean, and today had been no exception. He had cleaned out the attic, and as a result was exhausted.
Just as Harry was about to fall into his bed, an owl flew in through the window. He recognized it right away as Ron's owl that Sirius had given him. Harry groaned as he untied the letter and put the owl in Hedwig's cage. Setting the letter on his desk, he fell backwards on his bed, and went instantly to sleep.
Harry woke early the next morning. A glance at the cage told him that the owl had left sometime during the night. After putting on his glasses, he picked up the letter and tore it open. Out of it fell a picture of his third year at Hogwarts. He instantly recognized the day the picture had been taken; the day when Gryffindor had won the Quidditch Cup.
He could tell it was a not a Muggle picture because everyone in it was moving. There he was in the middle, laughing hard. Ron was on his right, saying something to Hermione, on Harry's left. Ginny, Ron's younger sister, was on Hermione's right side, smiling happily. Fred and George were in the back giving Ginny and Ron bunny ears with identical grins.
Harry smiled at the picture, then sighed as he realized how lonely he really was. He pulled the letter out of the envelope.
This is one of themany pictures that Colin took. He sent loads to me with a note about running out of space to store them all. This was one of the few with Hermione in it. It was one of the few times we pulled her away from her books. I reckoned you would want it more than me, since I have to see all of these people's faces every day anyway. The owl's name is Chudley. He's loud, so send him back so he doesn't upset the Muggles. Don't let them get to you, Harry. They're idiots. Try to have a good summer. Hope you can come over soon, Hermione too. I need her help with my homework, or otherwise I'd just leave her to her studying all summer.
Your best friend,
Harry set the letter on his desk, and he slipped the picture into the back of the photo album with all of his parents' pictures that Hagrid had given him. Rather than cheer him up, which was most likely what Ron was trying to do, the picture only made him feel more lonely.
Walking into the kitchen, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and Dudley were sitting at the table. None of them acknowledged that Harry had just walked in to the room. He sighed, took a piece of toast, and went outside.
He was supposed to weed and work the garden today. He didn't mind the work, really. It gave him something to do. Not to mention it was always a good idea to keep his Aunt and Uncle in a good mood.
Returning to the Dursleys this year had sent Harry in to a depression. Getting his hopes up about living with Sirius had only made it harder it come back to the Dursleys. Sirius never said where he was exactly, but he told Harry that he had left the continent, and Harry had a feeling that Sirius had fled to The States.
A few minutes later, the sun was beating down on Harry's bare back as he trimmed, weeded, fertilized, pruned, and watered the left half of the garden. When he had finished the first half, he stopped to take a break under the shade of a tree.
As he sat there, lost in his own depressing thoughts, a movement in the grass caught his eye. He watched it for a moment, and out of the grass came a small snake. Desperate for someone to talk to, Harry called out to it.
"Hey!" he cried, but what came out of his mouth was a hissing sound. The little green and orange snake stopped, and turned around.
"Me?" it hissed.
"Want to stay and talk a while?" Harry rarely used the gift of being a Parselmouth he had been blessed, or rather cursed, with.
The snake slid toward him, and looked concerned. Harry wondered for a moment how it was possible for him to know that, when a snake really only had two facial expressions; asleep, and awake.
"Why are you ssso lonely?" she, the voice was female, asked.
"Everybody around here hates me, all my friends are miles away," Harry said with a shrug. "Anyway what's your name?"
"Sssally, and what is yoursss?"
"Nice to meet you, Harry."
"You too. What kind of snake are you?" He knew a little about snakes, but she looked like no kind he had ever seen before.
"I'm a common Garter sssnake, but I'm very rare around here. I come from North America." Now that he knew that what he was hearing and understanding was in fact not English, Harry could hear the hissing of a snake coming from her. But still, he heard plain English, if only with the s's a little drawn out.
"How did you end up on this side of the Atlantic?"
"My mother'sss massster wasss a sssnake breeder. He came here on holiday, but brought her along. Illegally, I guessssss. She left her massster. She was much too sssmart for him. Her gift wasss intelligence, and he had no magic."
"What do you mean her gift?"
"Well, every sssnake with magical abilitiesss hasss a gift. One thing they can magically do. Didn't you know that?" Harry shook his head. He knew that magical animals had different talents, but he had never heard of 'gifts'.
"Then there are talentsss all magical sssnakesss have. We can feel the magic in other sssnakesss, or people. But all of usss have a gift that no other sssnake alive hasss."
"What's your gift?"
"It'sss complicated, but basssically I can read what you're feeling. I know your emotionsss. That'sss the actual gift, though there are a lot of thingsss that go along with it."
"So that's how you knew I was lonely," he said with a smile.
She nodded. "But you aren't anymore. I've never met a Parssselmouth before."
"Well it's a rare gift. It's an interesting story how I got it, or how I think that I got it."
"Would you tell me pleassse?"
"I can't right now. If I don't get back to the garden my Aunt will have my head."
"That sssoundsss painful. I can help if you would like."
"You want to?" He really wouldn't mind having some intelligent company. Not that Hedwig wasn't intelligent, but she couldn't hold a real conversation with him.
"I'd love to. You're the most interesssting perssson I've met all week. Actually you're the only one that didn't ssscream when they sssaw me." Harry chuckled as she wrapped around his neck.
Sally helped him finish the rest of the garden. Although she couldn't do much, she kept him company. When he was finished, he carried her back over to the tree and sat back down in the shade. He knew his back was burnt, but didn't seem important right now.
"Ssso how did you become a parssselmouth?" she asked, curling around his knee.
Harry plunged into his life story. About how Voldemort had killed his parents, but couldn't kill Harry, about living more then ten horrid years with the Dursleys, about finding out he was a wizard, and about going to Hogwarts.
Maybe it was because Sally was a snake, or maybe it was because she just had that personality you could trust, or the fact that she knew how you felt before you told her. Maybe it was because there was no possible way for her to ever tell anybody else. Whatever it was, Harry felt he could tell her anything without feeling ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, or worried. So he started to tell her about his first and second year at Hogwarts, and facing Voldemort both times.
"Ssso you're the one that killed the Basssilisssk!" she exclaimed
"Yes I was. Why?"
"Why? That wasss the only remaining Basssilisssk! Didn't you know what hisss feelingsss were towardsss other sssnakesss?"
Harry was confused. "No."
"It is actually only other magical sssnakesss, but he hated usss. Felt that he wasss the bessst, and any other sssnake had to either be hisss ssservant or dead. It'sss a skill that all magical sssnakesss have developed over the years. We can alwaysss feel a Basilisk if there isss one alive, ssso we can avoid it. We sssenssse when it isss born, and the awarenessssss will ssstaysss with all of usss until it diesss. We knew when he wasss killed."
"That's a really useful thing to have." Harry paused to think for a moment about how different the magical world would be if other people could talk to snakes. "Anyway," Harry began tell her about Sirius and his third year at Hogwarts when a voice spoke behind them.
"You can't really understand what that thing's saying." Harry spun around to see Dudley standing behind them doing his best to look like he was not afraid of the snake.
"Sure I can." Harry turned back to Sally, ignoring Dudley. But Harry's cousin wasn't satisfied.
"You're just faking it."
Harry turned and glared at him. "Would you excuse us? We're trying to have a conversation."
"Prove it then, make it wrap around your neck or something."
"First of all," Harry said impatiently, "she's not an 'it', her name is Sally. Second of all," he grinned mischievously, "I have a better idea." Dudley's eyes narrowed, clearly wondering what Harry's 'better idea' was. Harry said something to Sally. She looked hesitant. Harry rolled his eyes and said something else.
Sally suddenly slid off Harry's knee and on to the grass. She started towards Dudley, whose eyes widened with horror. He turned around and ran as fast that his fat little legs would carry him. Sally returned to Harry, and shook her head. "I shouldn't have done that. Fear isss a nasssty feeling." She smiled, though nothing in her appearance changed, Harry still knew she was smiling. "But he really did dessserve it."
Harry grinned. "He deserves so much more, it just isn't my place to give it to him."
When the two of them stopped laughing, he continued with his story. "So anyway, Hermione, Ron and I were hurrying back to the castle when Ron..."
By the time Harry finished his story, it was getting late. He had been talking for at least four hours, yet his voice wasn't hoarse. 'You can probably talk forever in Parseltongue and not get hoarse,' Harry thought. 'It's just like breathing.' But since he had only a piece of toast all day, he didn't want to miss dinner.
"I guess I should really be getting inside," he said sadly.
"Can I go inside with you?" she asked timidly.
"Do you really want to?"
"I don't really have much to go home to, my life ssseemsss boring now."
"Then of course you can stay, for as long as you want." Harry's heart lifted at the prospect of having a friend around.
"Thank you ssso much! What doesss my name sssound like in English?"
Harry tried to tell her, but what came out of his mouth was in Parseltongue. He laughed as he stood up. "I'm new at this Parselmouth thing. I can't speak English and look at you, and I can't speak Parseltongue when I'm not looking at you."
"Well then turn around." Harry turned his head, as though he was looking behind him. He said 'Sally' in English. He turned back to Sally and started toward the house.
"Do you think you can answer to that? At least until I get better at this?"
"Of courssse! Would you teach me more English?"
"Yes, if you want to. I don't have anything better to do. Exactly how big will you get?"
"Around three feet when I'm fully grown."
"Well, time to meet my Aunt and Uncle." A smile crept across Harry's face. When he went into the kitchen Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and Dudley were eating dinner. None of them looked up at him. He sat down and served himself some mashed potatoes. Sally was on top of Harry's head when Dudley turned to glare at him.
Dudley suddenly spit his only partially chewed food back out onto his plate, while his eyes widened in horror. "You brought that thing inside!"
Harry's Aunt and Uncle looked up at him. Aunt Petunia let out a small scream when she spotted Sally, and Harry's smile widened. "Oh I'm very sorry. I haven't introduced you yet, have I? Everybody, this is Sally."
Harry then turned his head to Sally, who was now on his arm. He started speaking to her, which to his Aunt and Uncle, sounded like he was having some sort of fit, hissing non-stop. He pointed to each of them in turn, but they had no way of knowing that Harry was calling them something much less flattering then their names.
Uncle Vernon's eyes were wide with amazement, and horror. "B-but- you- they'll- no- expelled!" The bewilderment was starting to wear off, and anger was taking its place. His face was beginning to turn red.
Harry gave a small laugh. "I'm not using magic to talk to snakes Uncle Vernon. At least not anything the Ministry can detect. It's a gift, a rare talent that was given to me by the wizard Voldemort after he killed my parents and failed to kill me." This was just too much for Uncle Vernon to take in at once. Harry had just said at least three words that were forbidden in that house. His face was now purple.
"Get rid of it! Then go to your room!"
"No," Harry said calmly.
"What did you say?" Vernon said dangerously.
"No," Harry said, slightly more forceful this time. Uncle Vernon stood so suddenly his chair fell over. Harry's anger took control, and he jumped out of his seat too. "And if you so much as lay a finger on Sally or I, I'll have my Godfather here faster than you can say 'curse,' now sit down Vernon!" Vernon's glass shattered. Even Harry was surprised by his sudden angry outburst.
All three of the Dursleys looked at the shattered glass, and were suddenly reminded of last year. Vernon turned around, picked up his chair, sat down and continued eating without another word. Dudley and Aunt Petunia stared between Harry, who was still standing, and Uncle Vernon, and then they too returned to their forgotten plates. Nobody acknowledged the glass again.
"I can't believe I just did that," Harry said to Sally in Parseltongue as he too took his seat again.
"Oh it'sss a good thing you did. You were feeling frussstration over the passst few daysss with thossse moronsss. Conssstant frussstration with people or thingsss can lead to hate. It's againssst your moralsss to hate. It'sss alssso, from what you've told me, againssst your blood, which are both good thingsss. Ssso you had to let that frussstration out in another way. You picked shouting, my persssonal favorite."
Harry starred at her for a minute. He didn't understand all of it, but he caught the basic meaning. "And you got all of that out of my emotions?"
She nodded. "I've ssstudied a few humansss. I love to learn. Thessse are jussst thingsss that I've found out by watching them, and their emotionsss. Shouting isss only one way to let frussstration out. You could alssso let it out physssically. Like beating sssomething. But if you don't let it out, it might come out in bad waysss, like ssself dessstruction, or violence."
Harry grinned. "I think I'm going to like having you around, Sally."
(A/N: When Sally talks, all the 's' sounding words would be held out, including soft 'c's. I don't write the 'c's out because it's hard enough to read as it is, and I don't want to confuse you anymore then I have too. I hope you enjoyed it.)