Freak didn't know a lot about the outside world. Most, if not all of his time was spent either in his cupboard or doing chores around the house. His cupboard wasn't tiny, quite the contrary, but Freak knew that was because of his size. And he knew that nobody outside of the Dursely's household knew about him, and he hated that. Hated feeling insignificant. Feeling small.

He also didn't understand his name. Freak. What an odd name. But he supposed it fit. From what he had learned from the newspapers and books he smuggled into the cupboard, Freak was a rare name, and he liked that. Something that was his.

He liked books. Books didn't hit him, nor did the people inside of them. They didn't stomp on him 'Htil he couldn't move, or kick him 'til it hurt to breathe. They did. They always did. He found that he did favor magazines, for they had pictures, but books allowed him to live a life in someone else's shoes. To be someone else. Not freak. He could be Winston Smith or Holden Caulfield, not Freak. He found he quite liked being someone else.

Freak, who had been laying on his side, for his back was littered with welts and forming bruises, flinched heavily at the sharp knock of the door, and the shrill voice that accompanied it. "Get up, you worthless freak! We need breakfast!" Freak flipped onto his belly and pushed himself up, trying to at least not be late to something as small as breakfast, and opened the door to his cupboard.

The Dursely's house was very plain, something Freak knew they strived for, and was a two-story house, with four bedrooms. One for Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, one for Dudley, a guest bedroom for Aunt Marge, and a spare which held Dudley's toys. The kitchen was rather large compared to the rest of the house, and Freak spent most of his time in it. Cooking was a chore he enjoyed, no one usually bothered him while he cooked, and he found it relaxing.

Chores were how Freak spent most of his day. Making breakfast was first, then cleaning around the house which included cleaning the floors and the windows. Lunch was after that, then helping his aunt in whatever she was doing which ranged from a wide variety of things or staying in his cupboard. Dinner was always his favorite, for he actually got scraps after, unlike breakfast and lunch, and they usually left him alone after dinner.

But today seemed to be a good one, for his relatives seemed to loll this morning, which was better compared to when they weren't, and Freak began breakfast. A traditional one, including bacon, eggs, toast, scones, sausages, fried bread, and some black pudding. When it was finished, in which the Dursely's were still rather quiet, he served them and went back to his cupboard.

Some time went by, in which Freak read some of last week's news, and when the door knocked, Freak managed to slip the newspaper into the floorboard where he hid the rest of his books before the cupboard opened. When it did, his uncle was there and immediately he struck out, striking the young boy across the face, sending him flying into the wall of the cupboard.

Still slightly disoriented from the attack, Freak tried to angle himself into a more defensive position, but no further attacks came. Unfolding himself, Freak was beyond shocked when he saw a plate of half-eaten toast along with a few small bits of bacon. Scouring them down before it was either taken away or before his chores started, he ate them within a matter of seconds, and sighed contently, rubbing his aching jaw.

Sometimes, Freak wished he knew about the outside world.

School was an odd place, Freak decided. People called him Harry, and while he enjoyed having a more common name, especially since he was around so many people, he still wished for something that was his own, outside of his name.

It wasn't terrible, but he had no friends, courtesy of his cousin, and he managed to irate some of the teachers. But it was somewhere away from his cupboard, and it was outside.

The only negative effects of school were that Dudley had a gang now, which meant beating Frea-Harry was easier, and the Dursely's started making him do outside chores as well as his inside ones. Weeding, helping plant and water flowers, as well as even helping mow the lawn were some of the new chores he had to do. And while he did enjoy doing them outside, or even simply being outside, if he failed there were dire consequences. No one knew about his injuries, either his bruises or now newly identified broken bones, and he had been threatened against doing so. But with no friends, there was no one to tell about said injuries, so Freak had no urge to do so.

Outside was also an odd place. It was filled with people, both cruel and kind, as well as people who were bright and simple-minded, but Freak enjoyed it. Certainly more than the dark space that was his cupboard, where the only alive things were spiders. He could be Freak, for lack of better words, without anyone beating him or abusing him. That of course, came later when he went back inside, but he enjoyed what little freedom he had.

Freak knew, almost immediately, that when he made his first friend, that he really was a Freak. The small grass snake was a nice golden-brown color but was very tiny compared to Freak's arm. He met the small creature when he was digging some flower beds near the fence, and heard a small hissing sound and a whiny voice shout out "Stupid humans… always getting in the way…" Freak, who didn't realize the snake wasn't speaking English, immediately apologized in a timid tone, hunching over slightly and lowering his gaze. "Sorry..." The snake, that's head had been peaking out from a small hole near the edge of the fence, fully slithered out of the said hole and approached Freak. "A speaker! A speaker! One of such a noble line! Oh, what do you need, oh noble speaker?" The snake spoke out in a series of hisses and whispers, but Freak understood it. Not realizing what he was doing, Freak plumped down onto the ground and offered the small snake his arm, and watched transfixed as the snake coiled up his arms, wrapping around it.

That was the day he made his first friend. And Freak could not have been more grateful.

Snakes, it turned out, made for great conversationalists, and when the small grass snake he met that spring day found a way through the ground into his cupboard, he was beyond thrilled. Apparently, the grass snake had plenty of other snake friends, and when Freak lay alone in his cupboard, he always had them to talk to.

Plenty of types of snakes, including adders, more grass snakes, and smooth snakes made their way into his cupboard and he was never lonely. They followed him everywhere, with even the small grass snakes accompanying him to school, and he tremendously enjoyed their company.

However, the Dursely's seemed to have only gotten worse. Apparently, getting better grades than their precious Dudders infuriated them, and they came towards him violently screaming at him about cheating and lying to the teachers about his grades. More than a few days after that report card came in left Freak in a broken heap of bones and sore, bruised muscles. But the snakes never left him. His ever-faithful companions.

"Freak…" The boy angled his head slightly to the left where an adder slithered up the side of his body, its face rearing up right in front of it. "We… have an idea… There is a way… for you to murder those… pesky packmates of yours…" Other snakes hissed in agreement, and Freak managed to prop himself up onto some pillows to face all of his snakes.

"How? You guys aren't strong enough to kill them, and your venom isn't strong enough either?"

"There is a type of snake… the king of snakes if you will… that is larger and stronger than all of us combined. Bring… it to you… and you will prevail against them…"

Freak cocked his head to the side, mildly confused. "How would I acquire such a snake?"

"You must hatch such a snake… it has eyes… that kill on sight… as well as… venom that is much stronger than that of mine" The adder seemed very excited for some reason.

"I don't know what kind of snake it is, not to mention where would I find such an egg. I'm stuck in here, remember!"

"Don't worry speaker! There are eggs of fowl in this house, yes? The one's you burn?"

"You mean a chicken egg? Like from the fridge?"

"Yes! Yes, that is the… type of egg we need speaker! Leave the rest to us…" The snakes then left Freak alone in the cupboard.

Day went, and when night struck and he knew that his relatives were asleep, Freak gently opened his cupboard door and made his way to the kitchen. An egg was simple enough.

With an egg in tow, Freak made his way back to his cupboard, and when he came back, dozens of snakes awaited him and the sight made him jump a little. Again, gently closing the door, he sat down ignoring his legs' pain, and placed the egg on the heap of blankets in front of him.

"What do I do now?"

At the sighting of the egg, the snakes began hissing excitedly. A few seconds later, a larger snake made its way through the hole with a small toad held in its mouth. It approached Freak, and when the snake placed the toad in Freak's hands.

"What am I supposed to do with a chicken egg and a toad?" Freak asked incredulously.

The adder from earlier slithered back to Freak "They are used… in a ritual. An ancient and long-forgotten… one, but it will hatch the mightiest… of our races. You will need… to hold the toad on the egg… and chant this-" What the adder repeated to Freak was a long garble of words that didn't make much sense, but he memorized them, and thus, the ritual began.

The toad tried to move from his grip, but the clicking of an adder's jaws made it stop. And then the process began, with Freak and the other snakes chanting in an obscure language he didn't understand.

Hours went by, and Freak's eyes were drooping slightly when the egg began to crack, the snakes started chanting more urgently. "Speak, speaker! For it must hear your voice, otherwise, it will attack you!"

Freak, who didn't really know what was going on, followed suit and began chanting more vigorously. More time passed, but within a few minutes the egg began to stir and the eggs seemed almost giddy with excitement.

A crack, and dead silence, reigned the only sound for everyone else was standing still, and Freak watched, transfixed, as a long, emerald, and lithe serpentine body slithered out of the egg, its tongue flickering out smelling its new surroundings. It moved around, feeling around the cupboard, and the rest of the snakes moved behind Freak. When it looked at him, however, Freak felt a stirring in his chest he had never felt before and marveled at the amber eyes staring back at him.

Freak began to try to speak to the snake, but it seemed to not understand what he was saying, and when Freak went to pick it up, it reared its head, hissing its displeasure.

"The toad! The toad, speaker… it must eat the toad!" Keeping one eye on the snake, he grabbed the toad and slowly offered it to the snake. It looked at Freak, then the toad, and struck out a ferocious speed, grabbing the toad in its jaws, then rearing back again, eating its kill. The snake ate the toad surprisingly quickly, and when it was done, it flicked its tongue out again, this time slithering towards Freak. Not moving, he watched as it smelled him, then rubbed against him, and after that, it went towards the corner and bundled up in the blankets in the said corner.

Freak let out a shuddering chuckle and leaned back, watching emerald-green coil in burgundy sheets, and for the first time, he felt happy.

The snake, which Harry learned was called a basilisk, from another snake who remembered seeing one in a book, ate food and mostly slept in the corner of the cupboard. It tolerated the other snakes which stayed in the cupboard, but the snakes mostly stayed away from the basilisk, for the last one which got close was eaten. It grew at a very quick rate, and after a few days, it was near three feet long and was by far the biggest snake in the cupboard, and they all obviously respected the rapidly growing reptile.

The Dursleys, thankfully, rarely came into the cupboard, so hiding the basilisk as well as the other snakes, was relatively easy. They all had to either leave through the hole, or be hidden under the sheets when Aunt Petunia came to awake Freak, but otherwise, he was left alone.

The abuse still came, with Uncle Vernon using mainly his belt and his fists to abuse the boy. The snakes vehemently protested this, but they had to wait for the basilisk to develop its magic eyes, which Freak learned froze whatever it looked like, except for him.

On Dudley's birthday, however, Freak knew it would be bad.

Dudley was a bully, as well as a spoiled child. This was obvious to Freak and the other snakes when they were abruptly awoken when they heard the angry scream of the young boy, which was accompanied by "Thirty-Six!? Last year I had thirty-seven, and where is my breakfast? You promised me extra bacon and extra pudding?"

A pause, and then a sharp rattle of the door to his cupboard make the snakes flee abruptly, and Freak turned on the light and adjusted his oversized closed, awaiting his Aunt to open the door.

"Wake up, FREAK! Dudders wants his breakfast, as today is his birthday, and if you do anything freakish, there will be punishment, do you understand?" The implied meaning in her words frightened Freak, for punishment usually meant the belt or even the paddle, and that frightened Freak more than usual. Punishment, normally, was a few beats with the belt or a few with the paddle, but when he did anything freakish, it was much, much more than that, and it usually left Freak with a bruise and welt riddled body.

He nodded quickly, keeping his eyes down, near her feet, and he heard a curt grunt, and she left.

Breakfast that day was a tense affair, for no one except for Freak, and after he made breakfast, his uncle also gave him a warning, which was accompanied by a few smacks and a kick to his gut, and he went back to the cupboard after to change his clothes, for they were going to the zoo.

He never knew how important that trip would be in his life.

The zoo was one he had been to before, and he loved the reptiles that were in there. It was a very large zoo, with multiple enclosures of all types of animals, but the ones he liked the most Burmesse Python as well as the Pit Vipers. They made for good conversation and Freak learned he could talk to snakes when one of the Pit Vipers began talking to him when he approached the enclosure alone.

So when he broke off from his relatives and immediately made his way to Levi, the Burmese Python.

"Hello, Levi! How are you doing?" He chirped, and he knew he could be louder for not a lot of the families visited the reptile and amphibian section.

"Alright, Freak. But one family la-" The python was cut off when Dudley, who Freak hadn't seen approaching from the side, knocked over the boy when he saw the python raise his head. He didn't really like reptiles, but the snake was ok enough, and he loved putting Freak in his place.

But when he looked away from his cousin who had fallen over rather hard, back to the snake, he came across the open mouth of a 14 foot long Burmesse Python, who was hissing dangerously at the young boy who he had watched hurt his friend. Dudley backed away nervously but made a particularly distasteful face and reapproached the cage. Freak, who had been watching from the sides, got back up onto his feet but when he was knocked back again by his cousin, all of his anxiety and anger towards his cousin and his relatives came to a head, and when he saw his cousin leaning on the glass, he focused that anger and was definitely shocked when the glass vanished. Vanished!

His cousin fell into the enclosure, but thankfully, at least for Dudley, missed the bite from the python and simply fell into the water. After missing his cousin, the Python chose to leave the enclosure and comfort Freak, who had to send Levi away when he saw his Aunt and Uncle rapidly approach. And Freak grew positively troubled when he saw the glass had reappeared. He knew what was coming.

The ride home had Dudley shivering with a towel around his back, Freak sitting with his head lowered and sweating furiously, and with his uncle gripping the wheel rather hard, and his Aunt staring distressfully at him and doting over her precious Dudders.

He knew, that he had broken the rules. He did something freakish and he knew his uncle would either beat him until he collapsed or until he was a bloodied, battered mess.

And when the car stopped, and Freak and his relatives entered his house, he knew it was time. Dudley and Aunt Petunia went upstairs to run a bath for his cousin, and he sighed and went to face his uncle but before he could, he met the fist of his uncle's face and hit slammed against his jaw, sending him onto the ground with stars in his eyes.

"What did I say?" His uncle spat out as he unclipped his belt "No of your freakish behavior and nothing bad would happen, you ungrateful bastard!" Freak, who had been trying to gain his bearings tried to crawl toward his cupboard, seeking refuge in the one place he could.

"Oh no, you don't!" His uncle then rapidly approached him and grabbed his leg, dragging him towards his uncle and when he flipped him over, he lashed out his belt multiple times, until Freak was screaming out in pain, with his back covered in angry red marks, with some blood leaking from them. His uncle went down to properly grab his nephew when he heard a rustling from the cupboard and Freak glanced over his shoulder and saw the positively gleeful expression on his face.

"Do you have something in there Freak?" Grabbing Freak by his hair, he dragged him towards the cupboard and Freak started screaming no, for he loved his snakes and he didn't want his uncle to kill them, but was shocked when his uncle opened the cupboard, and then froze.

Freak only got a glance at the amber eyes that radiated from the cupboard, before the emerald body of his basilisk shot out, viciously attack his uncle, biting him repeatedly until it noticed Freak. It instantly relaxed, and then slithered over to him, along with the other snakes that slithered out of the cupboard and over to freak.

"What happened to my uncle?"

"He met my eyes… hatchling. My bite after, however, will erode the man's insides and brutally kill him." The unmistakenly feminine voice of the basilisk broke Freak's vision away from the now dead body of his uncle, and back towards the amber eyes of his now deemed female basilisk. He extended his hand out towards the basilisk, and when she slithered up it, he felt for the first time, safe. She crawled around his body until she settled comfortably wrapped around Freak's body.

"What do I do now?" Freak inquired.

"We must leave this house. There are far too many people around, and we cannot be discovered."

"But where will I go? I have nowhere to stay and no idea where to go."

"We will have to wonder. I can provide food for us, and if we are attacked or followed, I can kill them with my bite or freeze them with my gaze." The basilisk had angeled his head around his shoulders so it was face to face with Freak and despite the risk of basically wandering around Surrey and London, anywhere was better than here.

Entering his cupboard, he gathered what limited things he had, and before he left, almost thirty snakes, of all shapes and sizes, gathered before Freak. The leader, an adder that had been with Freak for a long time, approached and Freak immediately sobered before going to his knees, letting the snakes approach.

"We have been with you for as long as we can remember, and we will never forget you, Freak. We cannot leave with you, but the basilisk will protect you. Good luck, Freak." Nodding towards the snakes, he went to leave before he caught the eye of his Aunt who was walking down the stairs, and bolted out of the house, and made his way down the street.

Freak, along with the basilisk, had made his way through multiple neighborhoods and multiple playgrounds before they made their way to one in front of a neighborhood filled with houses that were right next to each other, but were narrow and long. The playground was nice at the night, for it had little light, so it was easy to hide, and Freak made himself comfortable on a swing set. The basilisk slithered out of his sweater and curled protectively around his shoulders and he was happy here.

Closing his eyes, for he was tired, Freak was only able to rest for a few minutes before an older man, with midnight black hair approached him. He was taller than his uncle but skinnier, and he carried himself with a certain grace and stature that made his uncle seem like a hippo in comparison. The man stood in front of Freak then sat down opposite of the swing set on a bench and placed his hands placatingly in front of him.

The pair watched the other, with Freak's emerald eyes locked on to the steel grey pair of the man across from him. His basilisk, which was hidden beneath his sweater, was ready to attack if the man-made any malicious movements.

"You know, those eyes… I have only ever seen them on my cousin's wife." The man's voice was deep but was baritone in its sound, which startled Freak. His uncle had a high-pitched, rat-like voice and this one was comforting compared to his uncle's.

"Was she nice?" Trying to be polite, Freak decided to initiate some more conversation.

"Yes. She was. She was a beautiful woman, granted I had my own, but she was a very compassionate woman, and kept my brother and cousin in check." His eyes seemed glassy and he seemed to be remembering something.

"My brother was a menace, but in a fun way. He was a prankster and was always up to something. His name was Sirius, and his best mate was my cousin, James Potter. They and two men named Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew were called the marauders when they went to school. Despite being borderline bullies, they matured, and they helped me when I struggled in school. God, I loved my brother. My mother was a bitch, and also abusive, and he always went out of his way to protect me. But he died, in prison, when he was imprisoned without a trial." A few tears escaped the man's eyes, and he wiped them before he chuckled. "I can't believe I'm spouting out my life story to a little kid. I'm Regulus, by the way. Regulus Black."