Just a oneshot I've been planning to write for a long time...
Harry knocked once on the door to Professor Snape's dungeon office, his face in what he hoped was an expression of indifference. He wasn't going to serve his meaningless detention (oh, joy, more time with Snape) letting the potions master relish the pain he, Harry, was being put through. He was going to quietly do whatever needed to be done.
"Enter," came Snape's cold voice. Harry entered, a little surprised to see the Penseive on the desk. Was he going to have a surprise Occlumency lesson, so Snape could catch him off guard?
"Come to the desk, Potter," the potions master commanded. Harry did, keeping his eyes firmly on the Penseive, not where Snape sat at the desk in front of him.
"You're going to interpret a couple memories for me," said Snape, twirling a small silver vial in his fingers. Harry blinked, nonplussed. Snape was going to show him memories? Were they the ones the potions master always took out at the beginning of Occlumency lessons, perhaps? No, that was foolish, bordering on ridiculous...
"Memories in Parseltongue," Snape explained, "Conversations from the Dark Lord which I have... conveniently overheard. You are a Parselmouth, Potter, yes?" he added, as Harry continued to look confused.
"I know that," Harry managed. Merlin, he really needed to work on his comebacks. Snape merely sneered before uncorking the vial with a flourish and emptying the swirly memories into the Penseive. "After you."
Harry momentarily steeled himself before he peered down into the Penseive, leaning lower until he toppled forward into what looked like a dimly lit corridor. Where it was, he could not place - the walls were fairly nondescript, the floor barren and dusty. There were doors at regular intervals; in front of one a man crouched, murmuring a stream of incoherent spells. Although the hood was turned up and he wore a Death Eater mask, Harry could vaguely recognize the man to be Snape.
"Get closer." Harry turned around; the current Snape had also entered the memory and was standing directly behind him. "Can you hear them?"
Harry sufficed with shooting Snape a glare before he followed the command and crouched in front of the doorway. Snape joined him. Oh, Merlin, I've got Snape on either side of me...
"... ready our master plan," came a hiss from the doorway.
"Well, what are they saying?" current Snape demanded. "Translate!"
"Something about readying a master plan," Harry said hurriedly, intent on hearing more.
"But that's sooooo boooooring," hissed a second voice, in an accent which signified it as a true snake. Harry repeated the words.
"What are you talking about, Potter?"
"That's - that's what they said," Harry said defensively.
"This isn't funny."
"You never want to hear about it!" Harry was as of yet unaware that Parseltongue could sound whiny.
"I'm always the one that comes up with them. And they're boring. And I want to gossip," came the other voice - Harry guessed it to be Nagini.
"Potter, I brought you here to translate," Snape was saying, his tone one of angry warning. "And you are not translating."
"One said, 'you never want to hear about it,'" Harry said distantly. He repeated all of what Nagini had said, then returned to listening, carefully avoiding Snape's profile.
"Gossip?" Voldemort asked.
"Gossip. Talk about the Death Eaters. I'm bored."
"You say snakes don't get bored."
"We do. I would be sleeping, but you keep making that funny noise with your nose."
Harry repeated what was said, mumbling so he wasn't completely sure Snape could understand him. The potions master's eyebrows were rising higher and higher on his forehead, the look on his face a mixture of fury and confusion.
"Excuse me! I don't..."
This would be rather funny if Harry wasn't veering extremely close to getting detention for the rest of the year.
"You do. Don't even try to deny it. Bellatrix just won't tell you because she's..."
"Potter," Snape finally broke his silence, his voice softly dangerous. "What the hell is this nonsense?" The way he spoke made Harry shiver, and it was clear the potions master had wanted to use a much worse word than 'hell.'
"You - you really didn't know which conversation you were eavesdropping on, did you?" Harry asked, as Voldemort protested that he was not sleeping with Bellatrix, and Nagini said that she knew that, as their deal was she had every right to get it on with any of his nonhuman supporters if he did.
"How many of my supporters are nonhuman?" Voldemort demanded.
"Fenrir. Wormtail, I guess, but he's more of a snack than... you know. And you're definitely not human, but that wouldn't work, it would totally ruin our working relationship. And I don't think that Severus fellow is completely human..."
"If you're trying to imply that any of what you spouted out was real..."
"No, Nagini. I've already doubted Severus' loyalty in the past - no doubt telling him screw my pet snake would make him instantly desert me."
"It is, professor, I swear!" Harry protested. "Just ask Dumbledore!"
"Watch it! If you're going to subtly imply my screwing your spies, at least subtly imply it!"
"Professor Dumbledore is not here, Potter, or else it would most certainly be him translating instead of you."
"You were doing a very good job of subtly implying that I slept with Bellatrix earlier."
"I know I was. Thanks."
"I..." Harry started to protest.
"But about Snape," Nagini continued, "If you just got him to shave his head..."
"He can't shave his head, that would be copying."
"She wants you to shave your head," Harry blurted out.
"I don't know who you're talking about, Potter, and I don't want to," Snape said curtly, standing. "I've had enough of this."
"No it wouldn't, he's still got a nose and eyebrows and eyes with something in the form of pigment..."
Harry stood, too, but with one ear still straining to listen. That's it? he thought, as Snape prepared to drag them both out of the memory. No month's worth of detention?
"No offense, of course," Nagini hissed. "I just can't see why so practical a man would keep such a disgusting mess of overgrown fur around his temple..."
"You can't be serious, Albus," Severus said, almost pleadingly, when Dumbledore translated what Harry had said word for word a few days later.
"I could be wrong," Dumbledore said mildly. "Nagini does have a bit of an accent which differs from human Parseltongue... it comes from her Albanian roots, I suspect..."
Thank you so much to all my reviewers!