Harry meets an old friend and compare notes after the war. Characters belong to Rowling.
The young girl pressed her nose against the glass with a frown.
"DAD," she cried. "It's boring. Make it do something." A man walked up to her with an amused smile on his lips.
"Maybe if you asked him nice, he would, but you have to be polite. What would you like it if you spent your entire days in a little glass box, people ogling at you?"
"I wouldn't just lie there," the girl answered with the one hundred percent certainty of a child. "I would invent new knots or something. And then I would eat all annoying brothers so their sister wouldn't have to be fed up with them all the time."
"I'm sure you would," her father answered dryly. "Why don't you go to your mother now? She went to see the monkey house." The girl lit up.
"Are Fred and George here? They promised me a broom!" and she shot of along the track in pursuit of her mother and brothers.
"If they give you something to eat, you mustn't take it!" Harry yelled after her. He shook his head and turned back to the glass cage.
"Kids, huh?" he said, nodding to the large snake inside the terrarium. The snake winked at him.
"We've all been there. Long time, Amigo!"
"A life time," the man with the lighting shaped scar sighed. He leaned towards the cage in a relaxed fashion. "How has life treated you?" The boa constrictor slithered a few strokes forward, tongue flickering.
"Not bad, thanks for assking. You know, a bruise here, a bump there, you feel all blue but then you shed and life's peaking again... Hey, thankss for helping me out back then, Amigo. Gave me the pull in the tail I needed to go on with my life, you know."
"The least I could do. You were about the only one that listened to me back in those days..." the man hesitated and then knocked on the glass. "Since you're still here, you never made it to Brazil, then?" he asked. The snake stood up like a cobra in a basket, slowly wagging back and forth before him.
"Sure I did, kid, sure I did. After I left you and your little piggy I made it down to Regent's. Fed on ratss and found a place on one of the flat bottoms. Great place but a bit cockney, you know? Not really my type of people. Went on downsstream took my time, took in the sightss, you know? Southern England in all its glory. Grabbed a few henss, spent the winter behind a refrigerator. When spring came and I felt the old blood pumping again I made it down to the channel, jumped a ship to Spain, from there to Panama and from there - believe it or not - Brazil!"
"Really?" Harry said. The snake nodded vigorously.
"Brazil! And I tell you, it's all I'd dreamt of and more. It's big, bigger than anything you've seen. And the smells, and the air... It's real, you know. Real. When all thiss iss gone, Brazil will still be Brazil. And thosse folks that live there, you wouldn't believe it. Me, a green little viper fresh from zoo... those guys could have swallowed me whole. Some tried it, come to think of it. But they know how to live, Amigo. They know of what's important. And they showed me stuff... The thingss we did together. Oh, it was rough at times, I'll tell you, you don't cross the anacondass easily. But it wass a merry dance they led us, never boring a single day. And then there was this particular snake that..."
"There is always a girl, isn't it?" Harry commented.
"That's just the beginning of it, Amigo."
"So how come you are back here?" For answer, the snake indicated the sign next to the terrarium. Harry read.
'Boa Constrictor juveniles. Bred in the zoo.'
"I understand," Harry said with a smile, following the snake's gaze to what most of all looked like a ball of slithering string, giggling and arguing and yelling in voices only a parselmouth could understand.
"Felt like a good place for the kidss to grow up, you know. Dull and boring after a while, but that's just fine. Then they'll feel the need one day to go out in the world to find their own Brazil."
"They are beautiful," Harry said with an only too real understanding of parental pride. "Such shiny scales, and what a strong hissing."
"They are, aren't they," the boa said, almost bursting with fatherly emotions. "A real nesst of vipers, but I wouldn't want it any other way."
"I bet they are more than a handful," Harry remarked. Smiling at the giggling and babbling ball of string that was the Boa's litter.
"You should see them at feeding time," the snake sighed. "Honestly, if I hadn't come back here, Brazil wouldn't have known what hit it... That red-furred human wass your spawn, wassn't she," he added, obviously feeling that he should return the pleasantries. "She seemss nice. All those... limbss and stuff."
"My youngest," Harry confirmed with a proud grin. "Her uncles spoil her rotten and she has a handful of her father's temper, I'm sad to say, but still she's the most precious thing in the world."
"So what have you been up to since last time, Amigo," the snake asked with interest in his voice. "Did you manage to find your Brazil?"
Harry glanced over his shoulder towards the entrance to the monkey house. Lily was just running out from it, chased by her brothers, all three giggling hysterically. Ginny followed, laughing at her children's enthusiasm. Harry nodded emphatically.
"You know," he answered. "I think I did."