Harry Potter and the Serpent War
Harry ignored the glares of his Aunt and Uncle. He had explained to them that Voldemort was back and that he was watching the news to see if there was anything "unusual" happening to the muggle world that people couldn't explain, as this was most likely a death eater attack, but would be ignored by the wizarding news, as they kept out of muggle affairs. Begrudgingly, they allowed Harry to watch the news, as long as he was "quiet and didn't do anything weird". This suited Harry fine; half an hour of the news a day, and he was completely ignored.
"Also, just in, one of the most venomous snakes in the world, the Inland Taipan, has escaped Greater Whinging zoo. Leo Lovegood reports."
"The Inland Taipan is an extremely rare animal, as it is a shy animal that stays out of the way. One that has been bred in captivity was transferred for Greater Whinging zoo yesterday, but has somehow managed to give the keepers the slip. If you do see this snake, do not approach it, but do not panic. It will not attack of its own accord, due to its shy nature, but if provoked then it will defend itself. Call this hotline-"
Harry watched the zoo on the TV intently, and noticed that another snake was there – the boa constrictor! The must have caught him again after Harry had accidentally freed him. Shaking his head, Harry checked the time, and got up headed for his room. Harry was going to have a bit of fun, but he needed to know if leaving the town was safe for him without an escort. He was after all, a big target.
Harry had been given a requestor device that was magically linked to a speaker over at Grimmauld Place in case Harry needed to contact someone immediately – if anyone was at the Order's Headquarters. Tapping it on the top three times, he sat an his bed and waited. Less than a minute later, a young woman with vibrant pink hair and a pigs snout for a nose appeared.
"Tonks! I haven't see you for ages!" declared Harry, giving her a hug.
"Wotcha Harry! I believe that you wanted to see one of us?"
"Yes, I was thinking of going to the zoo today, but it's in Greater Whinging, but I don't know if it would be safe for me to go on my own, so I just wanted to check."
"How would you be getting there?"
"Using a muggle bus."
"That is safer than the Knight Bus isn't it?"
Chuckling, Harry replied, "much safer. People actually have to qualify as being a safe driver."
"Hmmm… I take it there is a reason for you wanting to go and visit the zoo?"
"Yes, I want to go and have a chat to few snakes."
Sheer horror covered her face, "what?"
Puzzled, Harry had to ask the question, "Did no one tell you that I'm a Parselmouth?"
"No! I'm going to kill Dumbledore for not telling me. He does know doesn't he?"
"Of course, after the Chamber of Secrets in my second year, I thought everyone would know."
"Chamber of… Ok Harry? I'm just gonna be a couple of minutes. I need to talk to Albus." With that, Tonks disapparated.
A few minutes later, Tonks reappeared looking a bit disgruntled, but with a normal nose this time. "Ok, now that is sorted out, I just have one final question: what are you gonna do if people catch you having a conversation in snake language?"
Harry blinked at the question, "Well… I can be careful so people don't see me… um… Tonks?"
Tonks eyes narrowed shrewdly, "yes?"
"Do you fancy coming to the zoo with me?"
"Why is that Harry?"
"I may need your obliviating skills to help me just in case… please?"
Tonks smirking replied, "well, I was going to do that anyway, in case of accidents – but as you have cordially invited me, of course I'll go."
"Thanks Tonks, you're the best."
"Since I'll be going with a fifteen year boy. What form should I go in? If I look old enough to be your mother or grandmother I'll look a bit odd…"
"Well, you could always make yourself look fifteen like myself."
"But people will think that I'm your girlfriend!"
"Hermione is the same age as me and she isn't anything like a girlfriend!"
"Okay… but I have a feeling that I'm going to regret this…"
Tonks features changed, and her look of mid twenties was replaced with the look of a teenager. "What about the pink hair?"
"Do you want to attract attention to yourself or not?"
"Well, then… lets see… straight, long, dark red hair – let see how that looks."
Tonks hair changed colour and grew in length. Harry was looking her over. Yes she would fit in now, but she did look great. Harry would have a difficult time keeping his eyes off this version of Tonks. Not that he was complaining. "Tonks, you look fantastic!"
"Really. Now are you ready for a bus ride?"
"If this is as remotely sickly as the Knight Bus, I am going to kill you – agreed?"
Laughing, Harry agreed which he rummaged through his truck for some muggle money that he had requested to be exchanged from his wizarding money to buy some new clothes. Tattered jeans with no means of magically repairing them simply had to be replaced. He still had quite a bit of muggle money left over.
"Okay, lets go!"
As Tonks and Harry walked over to the zoo, she commented about sending the Knight Bus staff to the muggle courses for bus driving. A muggle bus ride was actually enjoyable in comparison to a lot of wizarding transportation methods. It was slower, but it didn't have the side effects of making you want to vomit every second of the journey. For once, Harry was enjoying himself. He was with a friend, doing something that they could both participate in, yet it was dangerous enough to try and not be caught. That was when Harry's good afternoon had it's unexpected turn.
"Oi, Harry, have you gotten yourself a girlfriend?" a voice bellowed.
Rolling his eyes, he turned to face 'Big D' and his cohorts, he was just about to reply when Tonks with a malicious smirk, snaked her arm around Harry's waist, pulling them close.
"Of course he has," she purred, "which girl wouldn't with his reputation? Unlike your reputation of course." She looking him up and down, and then all the way left and right before sneering, "I mean, who would want to be seen with someone is stupid, fat, slow, and hasn't got anything to boast about. Harry on the other hand is smart, well built, fast and most definitely has something to boast about."
Harry smirked and caught on, turning to her and continuing, "Well, you are a terrific snake charmer." They both looked at each other and started to snigger while Dudley opened and closed his mouth looking like a bright red fish, while all of his friends laughed and hooted at Dudley.
Walking away, Harry commented, "Look, Dudley is about to come waddling and hit me in a minute, so you may just want to move yourself out of the way before he arrives. He is very good at punching."
"Harry, just turn around is punch him in the chest, I'll do a Banishing Charm for when you hit him, it will just make you look really strong and make him look stupid."
Harry grinned at this suggestion and they continued to walk until they felt a waddling earthquake approach them. Harry spun around at the last instant, fist flying, and it connected to Dudley's chest. Dudley flew backwards into his friends who tried to catch him, but ended up being a crash mat for him instead.
"Dudley, just go and leave me alone… with my girlfriend. Before I do you some serious damage." Harry said over his shoulder walking away with Tonks who was laughing so hard that she was leaning on Harry for support.
"Come on, I want get to the zoo before it closes."
Harry paid for himself and Tonks, and took one of the free maps of the zoo. He was just about to say something when he realized that Tonks wasn't with him.
"Harry! A little bit of help please?"
Harry spun around and saw Tonks trying to come to terms with a turnstile.
"Move forwards, and just ignore it."
An amused Harry watched Tonks gingerly press forward and stumble out of the turnstile, glaring at it. "What are they for Harry?"
"Oh that's just to stop people who haven't paid, the guy at the counter presses a release lever to let the turnstile turn freely when people have paid."
"And if people don't pay and make a fuss?"
"Security is called. Now then, the reptile and snake house is on the far side of the zoo, so we might as well and enjoy ourselves–" Harry cut himself short and withdrew his wand very surreptitiously. He could have sworn that he heard a very quiet wooden "crunch". Looking over to the area where he thought he heard it, he had confirmation. Harry wandered over to an area hidden by trees, whirled around, and jabbed his wand at the air. "Moody, you'll have to do better than that. The gravel gives you away. Now you can either show yourself and come along, or use a spell to hide your wooden leg prints."
Mad-Eye Moody appeared out of thin air, with a silver cloak in his hand, looking extremely pleased. "You're learning quick. I can tell that you're gonna be a great Auror, you're more perceptive than you let on. However, you moved your arm a bit too much when withdrawing your wand over there, although you kept your wand well hidden after that."
Harry grinned at the praise. Indeed, Mad-Eye took a great interest in the fact that Harry wanted to be an auror, and then took him on personally to train him in perception and stealth, something that is a large part of an aurors training that requires no magic. It required skill. Once someone has perfected the muggle methods of perception and stealth, when that person's natural abilities are aided by magic, they are even better at not being noticed than people using invisibility cloaks. Thus Harry had been in training every time he left the house, and even once in the house. Tackling Moody in his bedroom at two in the morning was definitely something that took out his frustrations.
From then on, Moody had been Harry's invisible companion, and Harry didn't feel as frustrated doing nothing. He was being trained, and trained hard, but he knew that Sirius would want Harry to do this, and do it well. After all, if he had approached the Room of Prophecies with stealth, things may have had a different outcome. Like the Death Eaters not detecting them, plus it was something that Harry was planning to teach to his DA students.
"Okay, lessons over for the time being, now come on, I need to have a chat with an old friend." Said Harry, leaving taking an impressed Tonks with him, and leaving Moody to decide for himself just what he was going to do. Glancing over his shoulder he saw that Moody had disappeared from sight. Harry sighed, obviously Moody had different ideas of when his "lesson" was over for the day… or night.
"Do you know that I didn't even notice that Mad-Eye was there? I'm supposed to be an Auror!"
"Yeah, but did you get personal tuition from Moody, that extended in attempting to hex you in your bed when your asleep?"
"He does that?"
"Oh yeah, well, after his first attempt, he decided that he was too old for it. Especially after I body tackled him across the room. He actually had to obliviate the Dursley's to stop them calling the police as I'd caused that much noise in stopping him."
"It sounds as if he likes you – he rarely does that to his own personal students unless they're his favourites."
"Tonks, keep talking about him, he can't say anything as he's trying to stay hidden, plus he's walking right next to me."
"What have I missed now Potter?" a gruff voice snarled out.
"You're too close while you're trying to listen in on Tonks gossiping about you. I can hear the rustle of the cloak, plus I can see the gravel produce foot prints that disappear almost immediately."
Tonks laughed, "You're creating a student that can beat you Mad-Eye, that isn't like you at all!"
"I'm not doing this," growled Moody, "he's a natural. All I'm doing is testing him. In fact, I think what Mr Potter is about to do now would be an excellent test of his stealth capabilities. Look at that!"
Harry and the two Aurors came to a halt outside the Snake entrance of the reptile house. Police, security guards, zoo staff, reporters, sight seers because of the news report, plus the extra mixture of the normal visitors. All in all, very busy.
"Um, Mad-Eye? Should we go and get some reinforcements for obliviating in case Harry gets discovered?" enquired Tonks.
"That might be a good idea. I'll go and get some trainee obliviators, give them a bit of practise, just in case." Moody growled before stomping off.
"Okay then, oh boyfriend of mine," Harry shot Tonks a smirk, "what is thy grand master plan with so many people?" Harry's smirk widened. She had just given him an idea. "Uh oh, I sense that I'm not going to like this…"
Harry's expression changed into a faux innocence. "Oh, but you will, oh girlfriend of mine… at least you will if you are what you say you are…"
"What do you have in mind?"
"Well, the staff, security and reporters are tied up with the police while they are trying to sorting out what happened to the missing snake. Therefore, the only people that are going to be going near the other snake houses are the ordinary visitors. So, to get rid of them, we get all clingy, while I talk to the snakes, and lo and behold, people then avoid us. That should buy us a little "privacy" time.
"Well planned, oh boyfriend. I can't believe that I'm agreeing to this…"
"Well, I can only put it down to my Potter Charm…"
Tonks swatted him playfully. "Careful Mr Potter, I might actually enjoy this if your charm is fully vamped up, then you'll never get rid of me, I might want more…"
Harry flushed red at the thought. Indeed, this version of Tonks was someone that could easily distract his blood flow if he wasn't careful. "Um… ah… W-w-ell…"
Tonks sniggered, "Gotcha!"
After a momentarily correcting his stumbling mind, he thought, Two can play at this game… "Okay Nymph, lets go!"
"I am not a Nymph!" she grumbled following Harry into the serpent house, "my name is Nymphadora!"
"Nymph by name, but I'd prefer to find out the hard way if you're a nymph by nature." Harry calmly replied, doing his best to keep a straight face.
"Harry!" she spluttered. Harry turned to face her with a huge grin on his face. Nymphadora Tonks had turned bright crimson, and the heat radiating off her face was rivalling that of the sun.
"Gotcha!" Harry wrapped his arm around her, "come on wildcat, I need to talk!"
"W-w-wild c-c-cat? N-n-nymph? Just who have you been talking to?" Tonks demanded.
"So it is true then?" A spluttering Tonks who couldn't put a sentence together, was all Harry needed before his straight faced mask cracked while he doubled over laughing. "Gotcha twice!"
Tonks then realised that he had been teasing her with something he had made up, and she had just voluntarily dug herself deeper into the hole. She snapped her mouth shut, and waited for her face to cool down.
As Harry entered the snake house, he realised that something was wrong. Something was very wrong. In fact it was a debate that he had walked in on. A debate held by serpents.
"I'm telling you, thisss isss not the way to go!"
"But we would be free of thessse cagesss, no more humansss pessstering usss by rapping on the glasssss."
"We would not sssurvive outssside without thessse cagessss. It issss too cold for ussss."
"We could be transsssported back to our original homessss."
"That issss true, but mosssst of us do not know how to hunt. We have been brought up and fed. We would not ssssurvive without the humanssss."
"Harry, what is going on?" asked Tonks.
"Well, we seemed to have walked in on a debate. Although this works to our advantage. The hissing snakes seemed to have scared most of the people off. Just one moment while I find out what is going on." Harry turned to the nearest snake, "Excuse me, what is going on?"
This simple question halted all the hissing in the serpent house. Every single snake turned to look at Harry. "You ssspeak ssserpent language?"
Harry nodded, and a Spanish accent spoke up. "I recognissse that voice... come over here."
Harry walked over to where the boa constrictor was. "Ahhh it isss you amigo, asss you can ssssee, I wassss caught and brought back again. How wassss that plump human after I ssssnapped at his heelsss?"
Harry smiled broadly at the memory. "He was terrified, thank you."
"You're welcome amigo… and just who isss thissss you have brought with you? Your mate maybe?"
"No, she is here to make sure that if I get caught talking in snake language, they don't remember. Also if I get attacked, she is here to protect me."
"Why would ssssomeone want to attack you?"
"There is a dark wizard called Voldemort-"
Harry was cut off abruptly by the serpent house hissing again. "Thissss issss who the wizzzard spoke of!"
Harry ignored them and continued, "as I was saying, Voldemort tried to kill me when I was a baby, I survived with just this scar, and he didn't. Now he is back and trying to finish me off. I'm a marked man, so I need people to watch my back."
"I will watch your back amigo, but asss you walked in on a debate whether to join Voldemort or not, I think you may be beneficial to the processss."
"Ssssomeone isss coming!" a snake near the doors called out.
Harry swept Tonks into his arms, and whispered, "someone's coming."
"What is going on Harry?" Tonks asked in Harry's ear, while she snaked her arms around him.
"Voldemort is trying to persuade all of the snakes to join him."
"Voldemort is here?" asked Tonks worriedly.
"No, otherwise I would have felt my scar burn, this debate is whether these snakes should join him or not."
Harry waited, and eventually saw some visitors approach, and then leave once they saw the couple's arms entwined around each other. Waiting a bit longer Harry finally heard, "the coassst is clear."
Harry loosened his arms, but Tonks didn't move. "The coast is clear Tonks."
"I'm comfy," she murmured.
"Tonks, please, this could be important."
"Alright, alright. You're a spoilsport, you know that? I'm going to go and check for Alastor." Reluctantly, Tonks loosened her arms and headed for the doors.
"Amigo, are you sssure that ssshe isssn't your mate?"
"Quite sure. Now who is putting the case forward for joining Voldemort?"
"He came here lassst night to assssk if we would join him in desssstroying a boy and the humanssss that keep ussss captive in return for freedom. He ssssaid that he would give usss time to think about it."
"Does the missing Taipan have anything to do with this?"
A snake with a black head, and dark tanned skin slithered out of one of the darkened corners. "I am sssstill here. I hid mysssself away from the Dark Lord."
"Why did you hide?"
"My kind wassss created by the Dark Lord over twenty yearssss ago. We are basssed on the Runesssspore, Bassssilisssk and the Fire Ssssnake. The Dark Lord combined our three bodiessss, and bassssed ussss on the coastal taipan, ssssimply becausssse that wassss the mosssst venomoussss ssssnake. Unfortunately, the Taipan and the Runesssspore and the Fire Sssssnake are are sssshy creaturessss, and that wassss alsssso passsssed onto ussss, it overrode the Basssilissssk's fierceness. The Dark Lord wassss dissssgussssted with ussss, and left ussss in Aussstralia to die.
"What the Dark Lord did not know issss that we can casssst magic, that isss why we ssssurvived, however we do not want to be wiped out by him."
Harry nodded, completely understanding the snakes predicament, "Your secret is sake with me." Harry turned to face the other snakes. "Just what is so appealing about killing people?"
"You would kill the hand the feeds you?"
The snakes muttered among themselves, before one of them finally shot back, "what if we can feed oursselvessss?"
"Does one of you want to try it? I'll take one of you away with me, and then we will come back in a few days, and then you can decide whether you want to or not."
The Taipan spoke up, "you are much more reasssonable than the Dark Lord. Agreed. I will go with you, as I want to stay hidden from the Dark Lord. How should we go?"
Harry took off his jacket, exposing his arms, and offering his wand arm to the snake. "Wrap yourself around my forearm, lets see how that works." The snake slithered forwards, coiling itself tightly around Harry's arm, with the tail at his elbow, and the head finishing just before his wrist. "A perfect fit, and you're warm," commented the snake.
"Indeeed." Harry looked around for Tonks, and saw that she was leaning against the wall looking amused. "I can see that you don't need me to wrap around you now." She commented.
"Tonks, you're not getting jealous are you?" replied Harry with a grin.
"Moi? Jealous?" Tonks came over to him, snaking her arms around his waist, murmuring, "can I get comfy again?"
A low growl chuckled on the far side of the snake house.
"Okay Mad-Eye, you and your friends can come out now," Tonks leapt back as if she had been scalded flushing bright red, causing Mad-Eye to double over laughing, his invisibility cloak coming off., and Harry continued, "I need to see Dumbledore, we could have a very serious situation on our hands."
"About what Harry? Tonks affection?" Moody enquired after he had started breathing properly again only to start laughing again. After a few minutes, a calmer Mad-Eye asked, "Seriously, what do you want to see Dumbledore about?"
"Voldemort has been here, and is trying to get the snakes onto his side."