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Snake Scales and Serpent Tails

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Snake Scales and Serpent Tails

Chapter 1

 

There were a lot of things that Harry couldn’t really remember about the end of his fifth year; he couldn’t even remember most of what he had learned earlier in the year either. It felt like all of his memories had been hidden in a fog in his mind. Even his feelings seemed to be muted in that cloudy fog that had settled inside of him. 

 

After what had happened in the Department of Mysteries...Harry found it difficult to feel or do anything.   

 

His friends tried to help him, to support him, but it wasn’t enough to pull Harry out of the foggy empty feeling that had filled him. He just seemed to float from place to place in the castle going from one lesson to another until it was time to leave for the summer. 

 

Hermione would drag him to lessons, including the extra lectures that were offered on the weekends, while Ron would try to get him to play games of chess or exploding snap. Luna would sit next to Harry during meals and would hum gently. 

 

He just felt so empty, tired, and guilty. Nothing anyone did seemed to help him. Sirius was dead because Harry had made the decision to rush headlong into a situation he assumed to be reality even though Professor Snape had warned him all year that Voldemort would find a way to trick him. 

 

The exhaustion that plagued Harry got worse at the end of June as they boarded the train to return to London. 

 

Harry could hear his friends trying to comfort him, trying to pull him into a conversation, but he couldn’t seem to focus. He honestly didn’t want to focus. What was the point when the last person that he ever saw as family was dead?

 

He supposed Remus could be like an uncle, but other than when the older man had been teaching at Hogwarts, Harry hadn’t seen much of him. It was like the werewolf was avoiding him. Sirius had done more to be a part of Harry’s life even though he had been practically imprisoned in Grimmauld place. 

 

Ron and the Weasley’s could be considered a surrogate family for Harry, but their loud chaotic household had always felt foreign to Harry. He had enjoyed spending time with his best friend’s family, but it never felt like what he thought ‘home’ was supposed to feel like. 

 

No. The last of Harry’s family was dead and it was, once again, Harry’s fault. 

 

So what was the point of even trying to smile and talk with his friends? He just wanted to close his eyes, sleep, and pretend that Sirius was safely tucked away at Grimmauld place waiting for Harry to arrive for the summer. 

 

Sometime during the train ride, Hermione had changed the topic and was reminding everyone about something; something that they’d been told during a weekend lecture that Harry hadn’t been paying attention to. She was especially focused on him and Neville in the compartment, but Harry just turned his head to stare out the window. 

 

It was probably something about their OWL results or making sure to do their homework. Hermione always gave the same lecture on the train ride back to London.

 

He must have dozed off at some point because the next thing he knew, Ron was shaking his shoulder and telling him that the train had arrived. 

 

It still felt like Harry was wading through sludge as he stood up and grabbed his trunk off of the overhead compartment. His ears felt clogged up with cotton which made it difficult to hear anything anyone was saying to him. 

 

Harry felt his friends all give him hugs once they were off of the train before he watched each one drift away towards their families. 

 

Family…

 

The only ‘family’ he had left were the Dursley’s and Harry most definitely did NOT consider them family. If anything they were just a place to stay during the summer until he was able to get away for a while. 

 

Hermione was saying something again and looking at him worriedly. 

 

“I’ll be fine Hermione…Eventually.” Harry was only repeating what everyone had been telling him for the past week or so. Had it really been a week since Sirius had fallen through the veil at the DoM? 

 

“Write to us Harry, even if it’s at midnight. We’re your friends and we’ll always be there for you.” Hermione grabbed Harry again and hugged him tightly. She handed him a slip of paper with a series of numbers. “If you need to talk, just give me a call alright?” She practically begged him. 

 

Harry tucked the little slip of paper into his pocket and he nodded mechanically. He seriously doubted the Dursley’s would ever allow him to use their phone, but it was a nice gesture from Hermione. 

 

In the back of his mind though, Harry had to wonder why this was the first time Hermione had ever given him her phone number. They’d known each other for years and she knew he lived with his muggle relatives. She knew he would know how to use a phone and that he would, possibly, have access to one. 

 

As quickly as that thought came, it was gone leaving Harry feeling muddled and tired again. 

 

“Come on kid.” Tonks was standing next to Harry all of a sudden, her hand on his shoulder. She seemed subdued as she gently turned him away from Hermione and towards the platform exit. Even her hair, normally a cheery bubblegum pink, was a dull brown. “Your uncle is waiting outside the platform.” 

 

Tonks wasn’t the only one there to escort Harry. A couple other Order members walked with Harry out into the muggle side of the train station. Sure enough Vernon Dursley was standing there in his obese anger filled glory.  

 

Harry was too out of it to stop the adults from going to Vernon to inform him about the death of Harry’s godfather. He was too out of it to remember that the only reason the Dursley’s hadn’t been ruining his summers these last couple years had been because of the threat of his escaped convict godfather. 

 

He didn’t even consider how much worse things could get once Vernon knew the truth about Sirius. If he had been thinking, he would have asked everyone to not tell his relatives, that he would tell them himself once they were home. In reality he would have never told the Dursley’s the truth.

 

The only thought that Harry had at the time, was that time was a rather funny thing. He was exhausted and he knew it’d been almost an hour since they’d left the train station, and yet it felt like just a few minutes had passed by. 

 

“Well boy .” Harry slowly turned where he was standing in the hallway of his aunt and uncle’s house when he heard his uncle’s hate filled words. “Looks like you’re all alone in this world. Again.” 

 

The vindictive smile that stretched his uncle’s disgustingly thick lips sent shivers down Harry’s spine. For a moment Harry didn’t feel empty or tired; he felt afraid. 

 

It was a funny thing to Harry. Voldemort wasn’t half as frightening as Vernon Dursley was in that moment. 

 

“The freaks said your criminal godfather is dead. They said to give you some space and support.” Vernon laughed coldly, his muddy blue eyes never leaving Harry’s thin frame. “This is all the support you’ll get from me boy.” 

 

Harry tried to dodge the hand that lashed out, expecting it to be a slap or a punch. Instead it turned out that his uncle had been lunging to grab him by the collar of his shirt. 

 

His uncle caught him and proceeded to drag him through the hallway. Harry struggled weakly and clawed at his shirt trying to get it loose from his uncle’s iron grip as the collar drove itself into Harry’s throat. 

 

It took him all of a second to realize just where his uncle was dragging him to. 

 

“You’ll stay here until I say so!” Vernon shouted as he wrenched the cupboard door open so hard that it banged on the wall it was attached to. Harry was thrown into the cramped space and then the door was slammed shut. 

 

The sounds of locks being clicked tight were the only things Harry heard for several minutes as he curled up on the thin ratty mattress that his aunt and uncle had never thrown out. 

 

At least his uncle hadn’t hit him. Harry had survived 11 years in the tiny cupboard, he could survive the summer in it. 

 

He hoped so at least. 

 

Now that Sirius was dead and his uncle knew about it, Harry felt real concern for his safety. 

 

What’s the point though? Worrying?’ Harry thought to himself sadly as he carefully pushed a few of the cleaning tools as far from his little bed as he could. ‘ I’ve got nothing to live for now...not really.’

 

That’s what it felt like. The promise Sirius had made to Harry just a few short years ago to give him a real home to live in, away from his aunt and uncle, had been the one thing Harry had been looking forward to in his life. A home with Sirius was supposed to have been his forever home, even after graduating from Hogwarts. 

 

That hope, that dream, had been ripped away from Harry the moment he understood Sirius was dead. 

 

So what did Harry have to live for now? School? He had two years left of school and then he’d be forced to try and be an adult when Harry had no idea how he was supposed to do that. His friends? As much as he loved Ron and Hermione...lately it felt like he was more like a third wheel in their friendship rather than a part of their trio. Looking forward to quidditch was laughable. Harry had lost his love of the sport sometime during the year without even noticing. 

 

He had nothing.

 

Harry didn’t even know if he had the war to focus on. Dumbledore had been practically ignoring him all year and no one in the order had ever told him anything. Only Sirius had ever passed him notes and had tried to prepare him. 

 

What was the point of being worried about how his uncle would treat him when Harry had nothing to live for or look forward to? His uncle could beat him to death and Harry doubted he would even fight back at this point. 

 

There really wasn’t a point to fight back. 

 

A part of him even hoped that Voldemort or one of his masked minions would show up and just end everything for Harry. At least then he would be with his parents and Sirius. 

 

Harry choked and quickly covered his mouth with his hands to keep the sound as muffled as possible. 

 

Did he...did he really want to die? 

 

At one point during his mental ramblings and morbid thoughts Harry heard the front door slam open and something heavy being dragged into the house. It had to be his trunk. Usually his uncle locked it up in the cupboard, but with Harry currently occupying the space he had no idea where his uncle would put the burdensome luggage. 

 

The answer came quickly as Harry heard the door to the basement being yanked open and then his trunk being pushed down the stairs. Harry winced at each loud thunk against a stair step and he prayed that his trunk would still be in reasonable shape after it had landed on the floor of the basement. 

 

Hours must have passed before he finally heard the locks on the cupboard door being undone. The cupboard door was thrust open once more and Harry had to cover his eyes against the glaring white hall light. 

 

With his eyes covered, Harry failed to see the fat hand coming at him to grab at his shirt collar again. He was pulled from the tiny space and Harry whacked his knees against the floor as he tumbled free. 

 

“Make dinner boy.” Vernon spat out in disgust at Harry, spittle flying from his lips. “Now!”

 

Harry waited until his uncle was turned away before wiping his face to get his uncle’s gross saliva off of his skin. He went on autopilot and cooked up a typical dinner for his relatives. 

 

Predictably Harry was not allowed to eat even though he had quickly and efficiently cooked a full course meal for his three relatives. Instead he was forced to watch in the corner as his fat uncle and cousin stuffed their faces and his aunt daintily ate a few small bites at a time. 

 

Thankfully Harry wasn’t locked back into the cupboard again. His aunt seemed to have a small amount of pity for him and while his uncle was distracted with the television, Harry was sent down to the basement to get his trunk and drag it back up the stairs. Thankfully his trunk had survived the tumble down the basement stairs with only a few dings and dents. His aunt allowed him to grab a few of his clothes and toiletries from his trunk before locking it in the cupboard just like all the previous summers. 

 

Harry had been able to sneakily grab his school bag to carry his things, which also included a few of his school books, his wand, and his invisibility cloak, before being escorted up to Dudley’s second bedroom to be locked in for the night. 

 

It was a miracle that Harry was able to get his wand and some of his school books up to the bedroom without his relatives noticing. At least if anything happened Harry would have his wand in an emergency. 

 

He did wish he’d been able to grab his photo album though...

 


 

Life at the Dursley’s was meaningless. Harry did his chores on autopilot and he didn’t even notice most of the time when he was actually working. He didn’t even seem to notice whenever his uncle would hit him or when his aunt would yell at him. One day bled into the next and Harry considered it a ‘good’ day if he didn’t think about what death would be like. 

 

He caught himself a few times, staring wistfully at a kitchen knife or at the garden shears. He even stared at his uncle’s razor once before forcing himself to look away. 

 

Even though his aunt gave him food, as sparse and bland as a piece of bread and water were, Harry found it hard to eat. Sometimes he willingly didn’t eat what he was given. Self starvation was a new experience for Harry, but some days he couldn’t bring himself to try to eat. He would just end up staring at the food in his hands until he would hide it away to try again later.

 

Time passed both slowly and quickly for Harry. The empty feeling started to go away, but the strange exhaustion never left him. If anything he started to feel even more tired the closer he got to his birthday. It took some serious banging on the bedroom door in the mornings to get him up and even then his uncle had to storm into the room to drag Harry out of bed. 

 

Harry did force himself to write to Ron and Hermione every few days, even if it was just a few words on a page to tell them that he was still alive. What was strange though was that he got nothing in return. It was like the end of the summers after his first and fourth years all over again with how silent his friends were. 

 

It was starting to worry Harry after the second week at the Dursley’s. One day, while his aunt and uncle were out and Dudley was at the park with his friends, Harry had quickly dialed Hermione’s number on the downstairs phone. 

 

Her father was the one to answer, but he had quickly informed Harry that Hermione was staying at a friend’s house for the rest of the summer. The kind man had apologized several times to Harry, which Harry had accepted hollowly, before the call ended. 

 

The summer was only two weeks in and Hermione had already left her home to be with a friend? The only person Harry could think that Hermione would go to was Ron…

 

Why hadn’t she told him? Why had she given him her home phone number if she’d been planning on going to Ron’s so quickly into the summer? 

 

Why hadn’t any of his friends written to him? 

 

The empty feeling, which had slowly started to go away, returned tenfold. His friends had abandoned him after telling him that they would be there to support him no matter what. Had they been lying to him thinking that he wouldn’t work up the strength to communicate? Or perhaps...perhaps his letters were being intercepted!

 

Maybe a Death Eater had gotten hold of his letters! But, if that were the case then why keep Hedwig alive? If they were going to use her to track him, why hadn’t they? They could have easily followed her back to Privet drive and found him, and yet they hadn’t. 

 

He wasn’t even getting his Daily Prophet subscription. 

 

Harry wanted to think about what was going on, but he felt so tired. Even when he fought through the muddled feeling in his head to try and organize his thoughts, he couldn’t. He felt like he was trying to put together a puzzle while blindfolded, in the dark, with missing pieces. 

 

At least the exhaustion that he felt, that filled his entire being, kept him from having any nightmares. He didn’t even have any nightmare fueled visions from Voldemort. It was the only positive thing to happen to Harry after what had happened to Sirius. 

 

His exhaustion came in waves that would build up and crash into him. Harry would be working at a chore one moment and the next he would be toppling over in a faint only to be woken up sharply by one of his relatives; usually with a kick to his chest. 

 

The exhaustion was at its worst the day before his birthday. He didn’t even wake up when his uncle came storming into the bedroom and pulled him out of bed and onto the floor. Harry didn’t wake up until the second or third kick his uncle delivered to his chest and stomach. It was the sharp pain of one of his ribs breaking that finally pulled him from his dreamless sleep. 

 

“Useless freak .” Vernon snarled at Harry as he lashed out his foot to collide with Harry’s unprotected stomach. “After everything we’ve done for you! Clothed you!” Another kick landed in his stomach. “Fed you!” The next would have landed in his groin had Harry not pulled his legs up to protect himself. “Provided a roof over your ungrateful head.” He brought his foot back before sending it flying towards Harry’s head. 

 

Harry had one arm wrapped around his head and the other around his chest to try and protect the already broken rib so it didn’t get even more damaged. 

 

“This is how you repay us?! By lazing about in the room we so graciously lend you. Sleeping through the morning and afternoon when you have chores that need to be done.” Another kick slammed into Harry’s arm that was protecting his chest. “You want to stay in this room and do nothing?! Well fine! You’ll stay in here for the rest of the summer and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll keep quiet.”

 

Several more kicks landed on various parts of Harry’s aching body until his uncle finally grew tired of injuring his nephew and stormed out. 

 

A solid wall of pain radiated from every spot that his uncle’s large foot had connected to. His arms and legs were badly bruised, possibly fractured, there was a sharp stabbing pain in his chest where he knew there was at least a broken rib, and he felt like he was going to be sick from the painful tightness in his stomach. He could barely suck in enough air to breath.

 

At least Harry had protected himself enough so that his more sensitive body parts were uninjured. He was also fairly sure he’d avoided any blows to his head, but it was hard to tell as his vision was swimming and he couldn’t even lift his head. At least one eye was beginning to swell shut already from the initial punch his uncle had landed before throwing him to the floor. His entire body felt like it was being pressed into the floor by heavy weights. 

 

A single choked sob left Harry as he fought to sit up, using his narrow cot to brace himself. It was slow going and Harry fell back to the floor several times before he was finally able to sit up and stay up. He knew from experience it would be better to lay on the cot instead of on the floor while he was trapped in the room. 

 

Thankfully Hedwig was out delivering yet another letter so she’d avoided any of Vernon’s ire. 

 

Harry had to focus on keeping his breathing shallow so as not to exacerbate his broken rib. When he tried to flex his right hand he ended up hissing and bringing it in close to his stomach to hold it. 

 

His uncle must have broken one of the bones in his hand while kicking him. Using his hand for anything would be impossible until it was healed enough to at least uncurl his fingers. Every time he tried to even twitch his hand a shock of pain had him cringing and sobbing softly. 

 

The injuries weren’t as bad as they could have been; Uncle Vernon had done a lot worse in the past to Harry. He was still in pain though and he knew he would actually be useless for the next few days until his magic took control and had healed him up enough. 

 

He thanked whatever god that might actually be around for the existence of magic.

 

Did he want to heal up though? If he stayed injured maybe he would get an infection and die. He’d gotten infections in the past, but his aunt had usually found him and taken him to the clinic before the infections could get past the point of healing. 

 

Getting an infection, multiple infections by how many injuries he now sported, would mean his death would be long, drawn out, and painful, but at least he would be dead.

 

Painkillers. Harry suddenly remembered he’d hidden painkillers last summer under the loose floorboard under his bed. If he could get to them then he could at least take some of the edge off. 

 

But they were literally under his bed and it would require him to get flat on his stomach to reach far enough under the bed to wiggle the loose floorboard up. With his stomach and chest both aching from sharp stabs of pain, it would be nearly impossible for him to lie flat. 

 

He’d tried once to get the floorboard up while on his back and he’d only ended up wrenching his shoulder out of place. 

 

For several long minutes Harry debated the pros and cons of getting to his pill stash. In the end he sighed tiredly and gently set his head back to rest it against the edge of his cot. The exhaustion that had been plaguing him for over a month was washing over him again and he was having a hard time trying to motivate himself to even get onto his cot let alone under it. 

 

Harry was also finding it hard to breath and he really hoped he didn’t have a collapsed lung or something. It’d never happened before, but having spent as much time in the Hospital wing as he had, Harry had seen and heard about all sorts of injuries. 

 

Staying propped up against his cot on the floor would definitely not help him at all if he fell asleep like that. Maybe he’d be able to sleep deeply enough so he wouldn’t feel any of the pain? 

 

After what felt like an eternity, Harry was able to shake off enough of the exhaustion to weakly and painfully pull himself up onto the cot with his least injured arm. Tears streamed down his cheeks and he tasted blood from biting his lip so hard to keep from whimpering. 

 

Almost as soon as he was laying on the cot, as comfortably as he could, Harry felt his eyes flutter shut and the exhaustion crash into him. 

 

The all consuming darkness settled over him and Harry let out a relieved sigh as the exhaustion induced sleep numbed the pain to manageable levels. 

 

Harry was hopeful that his uncle would keep to his threat and leave him alone for the rest of the day so he could get some sleep. 

 


 

For what felt like an eternity and a day, Harry slept. His mind was blissfully dream free which left him almost floating in a hazy paradise of nothingness. There were no thoughts, no memories, no feelings, and most importantly no pain. He could just feel himself floating in the hazy nothingness where time didn’t exist.

 

It’s what Harry imagined meditating would be like, had he ever succeeded in learning how to do so during Snape’s lessons. 

 

There was a sense of peace and comfort in the nothingness. It stirred a vague memory of a feeling that Harry couldn’t quite place. A phantom feeling of arms wrapped around him, holding him, passed over him. 

 

A gentle thumping sound whispered against his ear and Harry whimpered softly as he tried to lean into the sound. It reminded him of a heartbeat. 

 

“My darling boy.” 

 

The voice that spoke was gentle, soft, and filled with so much love. Harry felt an ache in his heart and he tried desperately to open his eyes. He had to see the person the voice belonged to. Such a sweet warm voice had to belong to an angel. 

 

“It’s not time yet baby.” 

 

The phantom arms around Harry tightened ever so slightly and Harry’s ear was pressed once more against the thumping heartbeat. It felt like a hand was covering Harry’s eyes keeping him from seeing who it was that was holding him.

 

“You’ve been so brave, baby boy. I’m so sorry you’ve had to be so brave.” 

 

Harry wanted to tell whoever it was that was holding him not to sound so sad. He had never minded being brave. Being brave had given him a home in Gryffindor with friends he cared about. 

 

“You need to be brave for a little longer.” 

 

Another voice joined the first, this one deeper with a hint of laughter in those soft words. 

 

“It won’t be long until he finds you. He can give you all the happiness and love you deserve.” 

 

It would be nice to be happy, at least that’s what Harry believed. He had thought he had known happiness at Hogwarts, with his friends, but the voice made it sound like there was so much more happiness to be had. Whoever this ‘he’ was, Harry could feel himself actually getting excited to meet him. 

 

But...finding who ‘he ’ was meant leaving the peaceful nothingness. These two really nice people, that spoke so kindly to him, that held him and made him feel safe and loved, were here in the nothingness. 

 

Leaving would mean leaving these two people. Harry felt his heart lurch and he whimpered softly. He didn’t want to leave them! Not again!

 

“Oh, baby, I know!” 

 

The first sweet voice whispered sadly. He heard the voice sob ever so softly. 

 

A twinge of pain in Harry’s chest interrupted his thoughts. The thumping heartbeat against his ear was getting dimmer and he couldn’t quite feel the arms around him. 

 

“We’ve done what we can. We need to let him go.” 

 

The second person was still covering Harry’s eyes, but he sounded like he wasn’t even speaking to Harry. 

 

“I-I know.” 

 

Harry felt the pain in his chest getting stronger and he tried to cling to the arms holding him. 

 

“Give me another minute! Just a moment more. Please!”

 

“We can’t. We can’t linger without putting him in danger.” 

 

“I’m sorry baby. I’m so sorry. Everything’s going to change now baby and you’re going to be so confused.” 

 

The voices were fading and Harry could no longer feel the arms around him. 

 

“Follow your heart baby, no matter what anyone says!” 

 

A sharp stab of pain jerked Harry suddenly out of the hazy nothingness he had been floating in and he found himself laying out on the cot in Dudley’s second bedroom. His heart was racing and his eyes were frantically darting around searching for any sort of danger that might be lying in wait.

 

“We love you.”

 

Those three little words were full of nothing but love. They whispered through the room like a tiny puff of air. They left Harry feeling warm, but also incredibly lonely. 

 

He had to swiftly cover his mouth to keep from sobbing. Now that he was awake he knew exactly who he had been dreaming of. It’d been such a long time since he’d dreamt of his parents, but never had the dreams been so emotional for him. 

 

Harry sobbed for a few minutes more, but not because he was sad. There had been so much love and warmth in that dream that it had pushed out all of the emotional pain he’d been feeling since the end of school. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so much love. It left him wanting, needing to feel it again. 

 

His sobs eventually tapered off until Harry was more aware of his surroundings and his body. 

 

There was still pain there, but it was dull and distant, as if he had been healing for several weeks. He knew his aunt and uncle would have never let him sleep for a week which meant his magic had been working over time. 

 

It would explain the heavy silent buzzing in the air around him. He’d found that when lots of magic was used in a single place in a short amount of time, it left the air charged up as if a summer storm was coming on. 

 

Harry lifted his right hand up from his mouth and got a good look at it in the moonlight filtering in from his window. There was light yellow bruising, but otherwise his hand was in pretty good shape again. 

 

Slowly, with careful movements in case his injuries weren’t as healed as he hoped, Harry checked over every place his uncle had kicked and hit. He started with the top of his head and then gently tapped around the eye that had been swelling. 

 

There was some soreness here and there, especially where he’d broken a rib, but for the most part he was healed. 

 

Harry sat up on his cot, groaning softly as he forced his stiff body to move. He needed to check his legs still. He fumbled for a moment to get himself steady; he was having a hard time staying sitting up and his legs felt completely numb. 

 

It would be just his luck if all his other injuries had healed and his legs were still in bad shape. It didn’t help that even with the light from the moon it was still hard to see. 

 

He placed his hands gently, gingerly down onto his upper thighs. He knew his groin had, thankfully, been uninjured in his uncle’s attack so he wouldn’t need to check there as embarrassing as it would be. 

 

“What the hell?” Harry whispered when his hands grabbed onto the shredded remains of the smallest pair of jeans he’d inherited from Dudley; which were still so baggy on Harry that he had needed to keep them tied on using an old belt double looped around his waist. 

 

Green eyes squinted into the darkness as he grabbed the shreds of his jeans and lifted them away. Had his uncle attacked him using a knife?! He hadn’t felt himself bleeding earlier, but then why were his pants destroyed?

 

With the rags of his pants finally removed, and tossed them to the floor to be looked at in the morning, Harry pressed his hands against his legs to try and feel any cuts or gashes. 

 

All movement stilled as Harry’s hands came into contact with what he could only describe as a smooth, cool, strangely textured surface. He rubbed at his legs trying to figure out what he was feeling. Whatever it was that was covering his legs felt a lot like his dragonscale gloves. 

 

Harry tried to move his legs, but found they had been bound together. 

 

A cold chill dipped down his spine and Harry started feeling his legs faster and with desperation. His hands pressed to where there should be a gap between his legs, but instead he just kept pressing against the smooth scaly surface that was binding his legs together. 

 

“What the hell?!” Harry was shaking as he tried to find the edge of whatever was wrapped around him. Dudley must have snuck into his room after he’d collapsed and done something!

 

He found the edge of the textured covering a couple inches below his belly button. It was completely flat against his skin and no matter how hard Harry tried to get his fingers underneath what he assumed was some kind of skin tight slip, he just couldn’t get it to lift away from his skin. 

 

Harry was completely and utterly panicked by that point. Not even Dudley was smart enough to come up with a prank as complex as this. It didn’t even feel like the thing, whatever it was, had been glued down. It was just too smooth of a transition from skin to...to scales. 

 

He needed light. Real light and not just what was coming in through his window. Harry didn’t even care if he woke up the neighbors or his aunt and uncle, he needed to see what the hell had happened to him!

 

Even with his legs bound together, Harry still had some movement available to him. He grunted softly as he squirmed and rolled over so that he could reach down to the floor with his hands. He couldn’t rely on his legs to kneel off of the cot; he would have to army crawl off his cot. 

 

The escape from his cot was inelegant and graceless. Harry practically tumbled off the short cot and onto the floor. It was a good thing he hadn’t been able to get under his blanket, otherwise he would have been horribly tangled up with it. 

 

“Shit.” The landing had jerked Harry’s chest and even though the rib had healed it was still stiff and sore. 

 

Harry did his best to crawl away from his cot and he made it halfway to the door where his light switch was located before he tentatively glanced back at his legs. 

 

His vision blurred and had it been lighter in his room he might have noticed his skin rapidly losing color. 

 

Instead of staring at legs that were tied together by some weird scaly leather thing, he found what looked like a long tubular object stretching from his waist back up to the bed where it tapered into a fine point. 

 

“WHAT THE HELL?!” 

 

Too stunned to even think about keeping himself quiet, Harry practically screeched. Instead of legs, he had a tail. A snake tail. A snake tail that was moving and slashing around starting from his waist all the way down to the tip. 

 

Harry was so confused and distracted by his tail that he failed to notice that he’d turned 16 almost 3 hours ago.