A/N: First off, I'm so happy you guys seem to like this! I'm especially amazed by the number of people telling me this is original and like nothing they've ever read before; that just about makes me burst with joy :D
Also, I think you should know that I had an Epic Quest dream last night where Moaning Myrtle was my best friend (she was awesome, it was a good thing) and Severus and I were together, only then he got transported away by a spell gone awry and I thought I would never see him again, but then (after more weird, dream stuff happened) he came back, and I was positively ravished. It was the best thing ever and I needed to share it with people who would appreciate.
Anywho, enjoy chapter two!
A few weeks later, in the middle of Defense Against the Dark Arts, Harry had an idea so obvious he couldn't believe he hadn't thought of it before. He let out a surprised, excited yelp and knocked his book off his desk. Snape sneered at him and asked what, precisely, was suddenly so exciting about underwater protection spells. Thinking fast, Harry said that if he had known them for the second task of the Tri-Wizard tournament, that would have been useful. Again, Snape asked why that was relevant, and when Harry didn't have an answer, Gryffindor was docked five points.
Harry nearly approached Snape after class, but by the time his classmates filed out the next class was entering, and he was hardly alone. So he quickly caught up with Ron and Hermione, spending the rest of the day lost in thought as to how he could get Snape alone long enough to ask, never mind how to bring up the subject.
He spent several days contemplating these questions, even in his Basilisk form, which was coming out more and more frequently. Eventually he decided on a course of action and the very next day he found himself knocking on Snape's office door when he was supposed to be at lunch. He would have preferred to wait until evening, but that would hardly be safe.
"Come in," Snape said distastefully, as if he already knew it was Harry at his door. Harry opened the door as little as possible and squeezed through. Snape looked up from his desk and gave him a disdainful look. "What do you want, Potter? How can I be of service to the savior of the wizarding world?"
Harry flinched and stayed pressed against the door, keeping his eyes on his shoes. They were disgusting from spending so much time in the Chamber, covered in grime and dirt and—
"If you're going to say something then say it," Snape remarked scornfully. "I do not intend to spend my entire lunch hour waiting for you to ask whatever pathetic—"
"Y'know the Wolfsbane potion?" Harry interrupted.
Snape didn't answer right away. "You know I am familiar with it."
"I was wondering if there were other potions, for other sorts of were-creatures," Harry asked, eyes still on his sneakers. "I've been growing more and more interested in potions, the more difficult the better—you can ask Professor Slughorn, he's given me permission to be in the restricted section of the library—and I know how volatile Wolfsbane is, so I thought maybe there was something along the same lines but a bit easier to start with." He had thought of this excuse in the wee hours of the morning, and was pleased with himself.
"There are no other were-creatures, Potter," Snape replied, his vague interest replaced by boredom. "I'd think if you were so interested in such things, you would have figured that out by now."
Harry thought that was true, but he had been really hoping there was just one other were, making the lead-in less awkward. "I didn't come across any, no," he said carefully. "But I was thinking, since there are no messages from the supposed Heir of Slytherin, and the Chamber of Secrets has been searched exhaustively, maybe it would be possible for someone here, at Hogwarts, to have become a, er, were-Basilisk?"
Snape was completely silent for a very long time. Then Harry heard the snick of the door being locked, and his heart sped up.
"Werewolves are created when an uninfected human is bit by a wolf in its changed state," he said eventually. "With the absence of any documentation of were-Basilisks, as you say, there would be no one to pass down the disease."
"Well, maybe just a bite from one would be enough," Harry said, growing more and more quiet. "I've researched that, too, and there are no cases of anyone surviving a Basilisk bite, so we can't really know, can we?"
An even longer silence, and that was really not a bright thing to have said, because there was a documented case, a single one, and that was Harry.
"Except for yourself."
Harry couldn't look up, wouldn't have been able to even under the Imperius Curse. "Right, that hadn't occurred to me," he said, this time his voice unnaturally high. "I guess that proves there isn't such a thing. Sorry for wasting your time, Professor." He turned around and tried to leave before remembering Snape had locked the door.
"Even you are not that dull, Potter," Snape said. "If you were seriously considering the possibility of such a human-Basilisk hybrid, you would be your own case study."
"I suppose," Harry said.
A very, very, very long pause.
"Potter, are you trying to tell me you have become this creature?"
Harry leaned his head against the door. This had been stupid. Beyond stupid. Idiotic. Snape was going to send him to Azkaban, he would go from being the Golden Boy to the most dangerous sideshow attraction ever, and he'd spend the rest of his life locked up and studied in some basement laboratory of the prison.
Unless Snape decided just to outright kill him, which Harry certainly wouldn't blame him for.
"Um," Harry whispered. "Maybe."
"Maybe?" Snape asked dangerously. "You cannot 'maybe' turn into a murderous snake. Either you do or you don't, there's no middle ground."
Harry closed his eyes. "Yes, Professor," he said so quietly he was amazed Snape had heard him at all.
"And you have come to me in hopes of a potion to retain your mental faculties while you are in your changed form," Snape said, remarkably unsurprised.
"Well, um, no, not exactly," Harry stammered. "I'm fine in that regard. All the attacks, as you have called them, they were all accidents. I feel awful about it, you have no idea. I was wondering if there was a potion to, er, deactivate my eyes."
To Harry's extreme shock, Snape sounded more intrigued than anything else. "There are several curses that blind," he said. "I assume you have tried these?"
Harry's eyes flew open. "Er, no, that hadn't occurred to me."
Snape sighed irritably. "Why you are known for your mental prowess I can only guess. Come back to me if those don't work."
The click of the door unlocking.
"You—you're not going to turn me in?"
More silence. "I owe you a great deal, Harry Potter, far more than I wish. As dangerous as you are, you know it, and I have no doubt the attacks were accidents. You were always fond of that oaf. Provided there are no more accidents, I will keep your secret."
Harry's mouth hung open. "Thank you."
"In fact, it was dangerously irresponsible for you not to come to me sooner," Snape continued. "As both the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and potions master, it should have been obvious you seek out my assistance.
"Now get out of my office so I can finish my lunch."
Harry changed that night. He was excited again, and just that rush was enough that it was worth it. Except he had a lot of trouble with his wand, and frustration quickly took over. He couldn't pick it up because he had no hands. He didn't want to lie on it and risk crushing it. He couldn't point it at himself because he couldn't pick it up.
Then he realized he could. He wrapped his tail around his wand and pointed it at himself. The question then became whether spells cast in Parseltongue would work, or if he was even speaking Parseltongue or just regular hissing.
He tried the blinding jinx. To his delight, his eyes were obscured by a black cloud. His elation lasted for a few seconds before the cloud vanished.
Next he tried the blinding hex. His vision went blurry for a moment before returning to normal.
The only other spell he had come across was a blinding curse, which permanently destroyed eyesight. Harry was willing to try it, but not yet. He made a deal with himself—if he killed anyone, he'd do everything in his power to destroy his eyes, from a curse down to flaming pokers, if it came to that. But, until then, he'd wait.
He curled up into his coils. Even if those spells had worked, he wouldn't be able to see, which defeated the point. He retained his mental faculties, as Snape had put it, and was fully capable of staying in the Chamber while he was transformed. It was freedom that he wanted.
He needed to talk to Snape again.
Harry once again went to Snape's office during lunch and knocked.
"Come in, Potter."
Harry did, glaring at his professor. "What was that about?" he asked. "What if it wasn't me? What would you have done then?"
Snape glared at him. "You think I'm so stupid? I've cast spells around myself to alert me to your presence, in case you change your mind and decide to kill me."
Harry flushed. "Oh. Right."
"I take it the spells failed to impair your vision?"
"Yeah," Harry said. "Also, well, I'd like to be able to see."
Snape's eyes widened. "You like being a Basilisk?"
Harry closed his eyes. "Not hurting people, I hate that."
"Yes, yes, so you've said," Snape said, irritated. "Other than that, though, you enjoy your other form."
Harry nodded silently.
Snape considered. "Sit, Potter. This is going to take some time."
Harry risked a glance at his professor. Still, even with this knowledge, Snape didn't seem repulsed. Just curious. And, if Harry was reading him right, maybe even excited at the challenge. Harry slipped away from the door and sat at his desk.
"The Wolfsbane potion isn't remotely useful," Snape said, getting up and running a finger along his many books. "You know who you are, that's not an issue. You need something to deactivate your vision. There were many attempts at this when Basilisks roamed the land, but since their supposed extinction centuries ago, there was no need to continue. Not only that, but there are no creatures other than the Basilisk who can kill with their eyes, so there is nothing current to modify. However…" He pulled a book off the shelf and returned to his desk, flipping it open to the right page.
"The last mention of the potion," Snape replied. "Five centuries old, but perhaps there is something here that can help your cause." He fell into silence, reading the passage. Harry fidgeted nervously. "You can go, Potter. This will take more time than I had anticipated. I will summon you when you are needed."
Harry stood and was almost out the door when Snape spoke again.
"You have been spending your nights in the Chamber of Secrets, haven't you?"
Harry paused. "Yes, Professor."
"I must be very careful in deciding where to brew this potion," he said. "Regardless of the protection spells on my office, there are alarms in place regarding Basilisks. It is not possible for me to attempt this in my office. When do you take to the Chamber?"
"No," Harry said immediately. "No, you're not coming with me. What if I looked at you?"
Snape looked up from his book and gave Harry a very irritated look. "Don't," he said shortly. "On the nights you don't transform you will help me with the brewing, and on the nights when you do, we will perform tests."
"Wouldn't those alarms be even stronger on the Chamber?" Harry asked. "Given how that's where the Basilisk came from last time."
"It's been officially sealed," Snape replied. "Impossible to get in or out. It was thought no one in the school could speak Parseltongue, but it seems that gift has stayed with you. Besides, all pipe exits are being monitored. Now tell me, Potter, when do you enter? Unlike you, I do not have the gift of Parseltongue."
Harry fidgeted again. "Eight," he said eventually. "I used to go in later, but—"
"Fine," Snape interrupted. "I will meet you at the entrance then."
Harry's hand was on the door when Snape asked, "How are you explaining your continued absence to your roommates?"
"Enchanted curtains," he said. "I go to bed, enchant the curtains closed, put on my cloak and perform a Disillusionment charm so I can get out of the curtains without being noticed. I sneak back in before anyone wakes up and pretend I've never left."
Snape nodded curtly. "Very well. Eight it is."
Professor Snape was already there when Harry showed up. He was very relieved; he had been terrified Snape would arrive late and he would have already transformed and something terrible would happen. As it was, he didn't change at all that night.
Harry didn't know what he had been expecting, but the night was like the most difficult, boring, endless potions lesson he'd ever had. In fact, that's exactly what it was. Snape lectured him on the history, chastised him for not preparing the ingredients correctly, even outright yelled at him a few times for being, as he called it, "an insufferable, idiotic, egotistical prat". Those words, exactly, three or four times.
He also accused Harry of faking it, of dragging him on a fool's errand to humiliate him in front of the entire school. Harry pointed out, quite angrily, that he could hardly bring the whole school down here, now could he? To which Snape just glared angrily and returned to his book. Harry, however, continued on, telling him that he had no control over his changing or even any idea when it would happen, that he'd spent a long time trying to find a pattern with no luck whatsoever, and if he could control it, of course he'd turn into a giant, deadly snake just for Snape's benefit but, unfortunately, he wasn't quite that brilliant.
"That will be our next project, then," Snape said, calming in the face of another impossible potion. "Once we've got your eyes under control, we'll investigate your ability to change. In the mean time, write down absolutely everything. The dates, the times, the phases of the moon, anything you can possibly think of."
"Fine," Harry said, shoving over a pile of orange zest.
"It was very foolish of you not to have kept a detailed account of your transformations already," Snape replied, carefully looking at the consistency of the zest. "If you were truly dedicated to finding a pattern, we'd already have—how long did you say this has been going on?"
"Since the second week of school," Harry said. "There were signs for years, but I didn't figure it out until I actually changed."
"Of course not," Snape said, returning the zest to Harry. "Finer."
Harry ground his teeth together.
"That would have given us several months worth of data we are missing," Snape continued. "Now tell me about these signs."
Harry ended up not transforming for a full week, by the end of which Snape would barely speak to him at all, and what little he did say revolved entirely around accusing Harry of faking it in order to feed his "insatiable ego". Though, Harry pointed out, he was still here, and they were still brewing the potion.
"As long as there's a chance you're not lying and I might be able to get you under control, I won't stop," Snape said smoothly, though Harry could hear the anger in his voice. "Now chop these—"
Snape cut off. Harry smirked, just for a moment, before the pain was too much and he started screaming. He had no idea how long the transformation took, only that it seemed like ages, and even longer when he kept his eyes closed the whole time.
"I told you," Harry said, coiling around and hiding his face. Then he realized he was hissing, and Snape had no idea what he was saying. He couldn't even smirk properly, not with a snake's face, especially not when he couldn't look at the man.
"You—" Snape tried. "You—you weren't lying."
"Of course not," Harry hissed irritably.
"The potion isn't ready yet," Snape said, and he sounded exactly like himself again. "You'll just have to sit there while I work."
"Finally," Harry muttered. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
He woke up five or six hours later. Snakes required much less sleep than humans, which worked out well, given all his sleepless nights wandering as the Basilisk. Not to mention his sleepless nights shivering in the Chamber, and now his sleepless nights staying up brewing with Snape. He had supplied them with a very strong version of Pepper Up, and that helped, but the only thing that really worked was spending as much time possible as a snake. He nearly uncurled before remembering he wasn't alone. Instead he hissed loudly, hoping to tell Snape he was awake.
"Good night's sleep, Potter?" Snape asked irritably. Harry heard the sound of Snape drinking something, no doubt Pepper Up. "Not all of us are so lucky."
Harry hissed angrily.
"Don't bother, you know I can't understand you," Snape replied. "I wrote down when you transformed, by the way. It failed to occur to me that you cannot write when in your current form. Nor can we communicate, so just stay curled up like that until you change back."
"I'm teaching you Parseltongue on the nights I'm not changed," Harry replied. He had spent a lot of time curled up like this, yes, but he'd gotten used to having company, no matter how difficult Snape was.
"Can't understand you," Snape replied. "Stay quiet, I need to focus."
The next three nights were much the same, but on the fourth Harry didn't transform.
"I'm teaching you Parseltongue," Harry said as soon as he entered the bathroom. "It's bollocks we can't talk when I'm a Basilisk. Open the passage."
Snape stared at him. "Parseltongue cannot be taught, Potter," he said. "It's a genetic trait."
"Then rewrite your genes," Harry said. "Open the passage."
Snape's stare changed to a glare. "Watch your mouth, Potter."
"Open the bloody passage," Harry snapped. "Otherwise we're going to stay in this bathroom all night long."
"And if you change?" Snape asked.
"Then I'll lay against the door, blocking it, and close my eyes," he said. "I can stand another few nights of being stuck with my eyes closed, and I'd bet you a hundred Galleons you're too excited to get back to work to not try."
Snape was furious. "I cannot speak Parseltongue!" he said again. "Your stubbornness is not going to change that! And," he added, almost as an afterthought, "I do not wager with students."
"I'll give you ten minutes of trying," Harry said, taking out his wand and conjuring a countdown. "If you can't get it by then, I'll open it."
"You're an idiot," Snape replied angrily. "All you're doing is delaying your own cure."
"The countdown doesn't start until you try," Harry said calmly. "Don't you think it would be useful if we could have spent the last three nights talking? As much as you hate me, you hate it even more when I clam up and refuse to tell you about this, which I will do if you don't even attempt to learn. You need as much information as you can get, you say. Spending three nights curled up hissing at you can't be as useful."
"Fine," Snape spat. "You're only wasting your own time."
Harry started the clock.
Snape didn't even come close, but at least that gave them something to talk about other than going over the progression of Harry's condition over and over again. Snape ended up so frustrated he knocked a pile of bat eyes to the floor, after which he declared the teaching session over for the night. He made Harry spend the rest of the night cleaning the eyes, which was a huge waste of time because a simple Aguamenti would have fixed it, but apparently this new phase of their relationship hadn't tempered Snape's penchant for punishment.