Chapter 1 - The Tree and the Snake

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I freeze, my mouth open, my teeth an inch away from the apple I was about to bite into. I look on the right, nobody. I look on the left, nobody.

I am sitting under a tree in the park of the castle. I'm having a break during one of my intensive study session, but I've just heard a voice calling. Where did it come from?

"Hey, idiot."

I frown and stand up. I look behind the trunk and whirls around.

"Who is here?" I ask out loud.

"I'm up there. Look up, dimwit" the voice says irritably.

Is this a joke? I lift up my gaze and searches through the branches of the tree. I lock eyes with a bright green snake, who darts his tongue out at me. I blink.

"Finally, Potter, I almost had to wait."

"Malfoy?" I gape.

The snake darts his tongue out.

"Ten points for Gryffindor, genius" he sneers. "Now, if you could take me to the headmistress, I'd be thrilled."

I stare at it in mere astonishment.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Pr McGonagall, Mrs Pomfrey, Pr Sprout and Hagrid are looking at the snake, in a dumbfounded silence. Coiled on the desk of the headmistress, its head resting on its own body, it's waving the tip of its tail, slightly annoyed by all these people ogling at him in awe.

"So, Mr Potter" the Herbology teacher says, disconcerted. "You pretend that this snake is... in a certain way... that it could be... Mr Malfoy?"

I sigh.

"It is Malfoy. He talks to me."

"And you can understand him because you know Parseltongue. Fair enough" McGonagall nods. "What's unclear to me is, how did he get transformed into an animal?"

"He doesn't know" I reply.

"Wher' did ya find it?" Hagrid asks.

"In a tree in the park. I was sitting in the grass, leaning against the trunk, when I heard a voice" I explain. "It... I mean, he was above me and he told me to bring him to Pr McGonagall."

It had been a real struggle to carry him with me. I'm not crazy, I refused to hold it in my hands. (I mean, come on, it's Malfoy! I can't trust him at all, especially if he has real venom in his teeth!)

"What made him like this?" the Headmistress insists.

"He can't remember" I shrug.

"Where was he? Did someone casted a spell on him? Did he... eat some plant or did an animal bite him?"

Malfoy lifts up his green, triangular head and darts his tongue out to catch my eye. I'm sure he understood that we are talking about him. I translate in Parseltongue what McGonagall said.

"I didn't step in a crop circle, if it's what she implies" he hisses ironically. "I was by the lake, reading a book, when I saw a flash. I think I had a blackout, because I've lost track of time, and I woke up at the exact same place."

I parrot what he said to the teachers, they seem both dismayed and thoughtful.

"Maybe it is a simple spell... to turn a person into an animal?" Pr Sprout suggests.

"I have tried a counter-spell" McGonagall replies. "Didn't work. (She turns to me.) Has Malfoy started to learn how to become an Animagus, by any chance? It's a very difficult process and sometimes, things go wrong."

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