AN: This is thanks to Slytherin66. A comment was made and a bunny wouldn't hush. I hope you enjoy it. If this looks improved in anyway, if you bother to reread it, then thank Yen or SuNoYo.
Polishing What is There
"Sit down, young man."
Severus walked past the portrait, refusing to listen to the unknown man. He had places to be, and this dank section of the dungeon was not one of them.
"I said to stop and listen!"
The sharp tone stopped Severus' feet before he had thought about it. Turning about, he scowled at the portrait. "I have to be in the library, and there is no place to sit down here. I refuse to sit on the floor."
Painted green-brown eyes narrowed for a moment. "Then I will see you in the library, the older section near the potions and healing books. There is a seat there. Do not make me wait long."
With that the painted man swept off leaving Severus to wonder who he was, and if he really wanted to see him again. On his way to the library the other portraits watched him, and several, ones that typically warned him if the Marauders were coming, told him not to keep The Old Man waiting. Suzy, a ravenous blonde, shuddered delicately before she commented that he was crotchety, but a good person to know.
Severus understood crotchety.
He nodded to Madam Pince as he slipped quietly through the door, and then headed back to the potions section. He had never seen a portrait there before and had to hunt down the dusty frame in a deep alcove that he never would have noticed if he wasn't searching high and low. He had trusted Suzy to tell him the truth, there had to be one in this area if she said so. There, hanging above a small table with a cluster of chairs, was a large portrait that was empty except for The Old Man.
"You made it. Good. Have a seat."
Severus glowered at the painted figure before casting a quick cleaning spell on one of the dusty chairs and then settled. "What do you want?"
"You are a Slytherin, and a good one at that. Bright, hardworking, ambitious."
Folding his arms, Severus leaned back in the chair, fixing a bland look on his face. Old men sometimes had to ramble to get to their point.
"You can stride about with the best of them, you can glower, scowl, frown and smirk. We need to work on your glare."
Severus raised an eyebrow slowly. "My glare. You are keeping me away from my studies, I have NEWTs coming, to help me work on my glare?"
The Old Man nodded, his own face a mask of patience. "You have potential. You are the first Slytherin in centuries that has the potential to succeed in the glare. Your face has just the right lines, the way you hold your head is almost right, and your eyes are the right color. When Dumbledore tries, his blue eyes just makes lasers, but you... you young man, have the potential to succeed in making the Basilisk Glare."
The awe in the Old Man's voice piqued his curiosity. "The Basilisk Glare?"
Nodding, the portrait spoke softly, "It can freeze a student in his tracks, make grown men rethink what they are doing, and if you perfect it, your enemies quake in their boots." The green-brown eyes focused on the teen. "Are you willing for me to instruct you on how to do it? I'll also tutor you in your NEWTs if you wish me to. I used to be a teacher here, a long time ago."
Severus studied the portrait's face a bit closer. "What subject?"
"More than one. In my time, we didn't have as many specialists as you do now. I taught Potions, Defense Against Dark Arts, and Care of Magical Creatures. I do have some talent with Charms, and can give pointers in Transfigurations."
Leaning back in the seat, Severus contemplated the portrait. If the Old Man was telling the truth, this was a good bargain. What was the portrait going to get out of this though? Pondering the question for a long moment, he gave up on finding the answer, and asked it.
"Me? I have the fun of watching you use the Glare, and I will have someone to talk to."
Considering where he originally met the Old Man, the last part seemed to be the real reason. "I accept."
The Old Man was more of a perfectionist than their first meeting had let on. Severus spent many hours, every one that he was awake and not in class or eating, tucked in that back alcove in the library. Luckily he could claim he was studying for his NEWTs, which he was doing as well. The Old Man wasn't allowing any slacking.
Things he had never quite understood before about Transfigurations and Charms were explained in meticulous detail. He was pushed further in Defense than any of their Professors had ever tried. Potions, Herbology, and the other subjects were also given the same treatment. If the Old Man couldn't make Severus understand it, then he brought in other portraits and even ghosts to explain the concept in a different manner.
Severus never wanted to have the Bloody Baron as a teacher again, but he did understand how stance could affect the casting of certain spells after that lesson. He was amazed that Sir Cadogan, the daft knight from the seventh floor, was that good at Transfigurations, and that Fat Lady would even consider teaching him about Charms, he knew which house she guarded.
It was the lessons on the Basilisk Glare that were the hardest, where the Old Man's perfectionist nature shone through the most. Severus had to hold his head just so, narrow his eyes to just this point, crease his brow only so far, and press his lips with precisely the right amount of pressure. Once he reached the level the Old Man thought was passable, he then had to practice it on the ghosts and portraits before he could use it on anyone else.
"That glare won't work on me, Severus Snape. I taught it to you." The Old Man glared back at the newest member of the faculty.
Severus sighed and leaned back against the dank wall. It had been a long day, most of the staff were not happy that he was there to teach Potions. He was too young, too moody, too... something for them. That Dumbledore wanted him and vouched for him had only helped a bit. Focusing on the portrait, he knew that he just wanted to see a face at the end of the day that he trusted and even liked. He had thought of asking Sir Cadogan, but knew that the old knight liked the seventh floor corridor, plus the image the knight cast was too Gryffindorish for the Head of Slytherin's door guard. The Old Man on the other hand would fit both requirements.
"We will be able to talk everyday. You can teach me how to handle the students. How to teach a Potions class. What to look for, how to keep the students from death, if not injury." Severus hoped it would work. The Old Man did enjoy bossing him about before, but had truly loved it when Severus was learning something from him.
Painted hands dismissed the statements. "You can meet me in the Library for that."
Severus shook his head. "I won't have time to be up there for all hours of the night. Besides, it would get you out of this dank corner. If it is privacy that you are worried about, I picked the most reclusive set of quarters available. Not many people will see you. Not even the students of Slytherin."
Green-brown eyes narrowed for a long moment before the portrait strode off, a 'Wait there!' hanging in the air.
It was almost five minutes later before he came back. Severus only stayed because he truly wanted the Old Man as his portrait, that and the ghosts and other portraits would not like it if he disobeyed the Old Man.
"I will do it." The Old Man huffed for a moment, before smirking. "Be prepared, your lessons start tonight."
Severus smiled as he went to tell the house elves which portrait to move.
Salazar watched as the newest Head of Slytherin strode down the hall, his cloak billowing like Godric's. Turning his head, his green-brown eyes met the laughing blue ones. "When did you teach him that? I thought you were focusing strictly on Runes."
Rowena watched as Severus turned the corner. "Don't fuss at him, Salazar, it goes perfect with the Basilisk Glare. Don't you agree, Helga?"
Helga nodded. "It shall be interesting to see how the students react to the combination of the two in one person, versus your glaring and Godric's swooping."
"That it might be." Salazar was contemplating how to teach Severus to use the effect to the best advantage when he felt the portrait shift to cover Severus' door.